The utility of a dairy cow to her owner depends on profitable performance across a relatively long productive life. Long term breeding objectives need to reflect the influence of those several traits which influence lifetime performance. The challenge to producers is to select for the combination of traits most conducive to profitable lifetime performance and to provide those management conditions which facilitate optimum expression of the traits selected. Thus, breeding programs designed to produce optimum economic response in lifetime performance will depend on a balancing of several selection objectives in a multivariable system. Defining those objective criteria requires a working definition of the objective to be obtained, one which can be measured efficiently on many dairy cows. This article reviews development of one such objective, lifetime relative net income and examines some of the research findings of work applying the function to field data.

B. G Cassell, D. J Weigel

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 17. Genetics and breeding of dairy and beef cattle, swine and horses, , 97–100, 1994
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