Poor fertility of dairy cows has become a major cause of involuntary culling in many countries worldwide. Production costs and welfare related implications are of great concern to the industry. In the UK, there are no breeding tools available to help identify bulls that breed daughters with poor fertility. For this reason, a fertility index is being developed. The index includes insemination traits, which are directly linked to the cow’s ability to conceive, and calving interval, which readily provides objective and reliable information. In addition, body condition is being considered as a useful tool in assessing the energy status of the cow, which is genetically correlated with reproductive performance (Harrison et al, 1990; Pryce et al, 2001). Finally, milk yield is also being considered in order to account for culling due to low production, because of its relationship with both calving interval and body condition, and to increase the predictive capacity of the fertility index.  

S. Brotherstone, G. Banos, Mike P Coffey

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 1, , 1.28, 2002
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