Derivation of economic values for production traits for dairy cattle has been thoroughly discussed in the literature (e.g. Gibson, 1989 ; Groen, 1989). However, the trend in dairy cattle production has shifted from increasing milk yield to improving the efficiency of production, i.e., reducing costs of input, which necessitates the consideration of functional traits (Groen et al., 1997). Inclusion of functional traits in breeding goals has made the derivation of economic values more complicated, as many of these traits are difficult to define and model in an appropriate way. Adding to the complications is the growing public concern about welfare and ethical issues related to farm animals in recent years (Olesen et al., 2000). In the Scandinavian countries selection for functional traits has been practised for several years. The total merit index used in Denmark includes milk yield and some functional traits such as calving ease, fertility and mastitis (Principles of Danish cattle breeding, 2001). However, economic values applied in the breeding goal are not well documented and methods to derive economic values for some functional traits have not been described in the literature. The aim of this study was to establish and validate a model for a dairy cattle production system and to derive economic values for both production and functional traits under Danish production circumstance

H. M Nielsen, A. F Groen, S. Ostergaard, P. Berg

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 1, , 1.18, 2002
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