Breeding for indexes

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
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Location: New Zealand

Breeding for indexes

Postby regolith » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:20 pm

I found an article by a breeder just now that puts into very clear words what I think of breeding with the focus on overall index:

Probably only of interest to one or two who read here. The best bit about the owners of this herd - they are 50/50 sharemilkers with a vision. They're in the same situation I am, where their asset is the cows that they own rather than land or other investments.
This year I listed twelve heifer calves for sale. The stock agent found a buyer and good money for eight of them. The other four had indexes under that current 'magic' number of 100 and I still have them... he told me it was unlikely he'd be able to get their rearing cost back if he tried to sell them for me. This is the sort of thing I've heard over and over again - all twelve calves were selected for the same reason, my cows had been out on lease and they were the result of matings I would never have wanted heifers from. Sharemilkers are essentially tied in to the index system because otherwise their cattle are not marketable.
My herd is national average for BW and I select matings to ensure it stays there. Those Brown Swiss cross heifers are all minus rated for index, if I had to sell the herd there's a good chance some of my best would go to slaughter. But the herd index remains average, because I balance my bull selections with some of the top index bulls in the country, the ones that also carry reasonable type and management traits.
I'd love to be able to just let go of the pursuit of index altogether.
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cow pollinater
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Location: Eastern OK

Re: Breeding for indexes

Postby cow pollinater » Sun May 06, 2012 4:35 pm

That's the same story that faces every breeder in some form or another. I have registered angus cows that are really good cows with a fantastic production record but they are twelve year old genetics so there's no way their progeny can compete with the up and comers so they get crossbred to be commercial cows.
Indexes were built for cowmen/women that are either ignorant about genetics or already have top notch cows that can go any direction and still put out a good calf... otherwise they're horrible.
Over here it's $Cheese Merit. Overall it's a good index but if you understand how it's calculated, it's easy to see that alot of bulls that are low on CM can be more profitable on the right cow than some bull with a huge CM score that's really a compilation of average components and good type that average together well.
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