Breeding briefs

Published 7 January 15

Breeding briefs

This document is available for UK postal order only. Please check whether the documents you require are available to download.

High quality cattle are at the heart of profitable dairy farming. This requires good quality genetics and without this - however good your management - there is a ceiling to your herd's performance and profitability.

This isn't just about genetics for milk production. It's also about health, welfare, management and type traits, each one of which can make an important contribution to profitability and each of which can be improved through breeding.

A series of poor breeding decisions can mean the difference between profit and loss; even between a business's survival and failure. Yet the time, cost and effort needed for a good breeding decision to be made is much the same as those needed for a bad one.

Even more important is the fact that breeding decisions are cumulative. Their effects build up over the generations such that a problem can be introduced or cured over just a few years through the breeding choices made.

This booklet aims to identify some of the tools of genetic improvement so that better breeding decisions can be made. It concentrates on the theory and adds comments on using breeding tools in practice and for those confronted with an overload of information, it helps identify the figures to seek out and prioritise.