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Udder health is essential
for dairy cows

Would you like to achieve higher mastitis resistance in your herd and maintain herd performance?

Despite the fact that health traits have a negative correlation to production, all our unique health traits, including udder health, have a strong positive correlation to NTM, longevity and general health. That means that healthy cows live longer and have higher lifetime production.

It is important to realize that reducing costs, such as reduced veterinary assistance because of healthier cows, is equally important in improving profitability as increasing milk yield is. They both have an effect on the profit of the dairy farmer.

Udder health index

The Udder Health index is strongly correlated with NTM. The Udder Health index is a very important trait, both for dairy cows’ well-being and comfort but also for economic reasons. Mastitis is among the top culling reasons in dairy cows.

The Udder Health index describes the bull’s daughters’ genetic ability to resist mastitis and it includes breeding values for udder health in the first three lactations. The Data behind the Udder Health index is the records on clinical mastitis made by veterinarians. Cell count (first three lactations) and udder conformation (fore udder attachment and udder depth from the 1st lactation) are used as indicator traits for udder health.

What makes the Udder Health index unique is that in the Nordic countries, we register actual disease cases and don’t just rely on indicator traits, like Somatic cell count (SCC). SCC alone is not a good enough predictor for improving mastitis resistance. The Correlation between SCC and clinical mastitis is around 0.6, so it is not really the same trait. Therefore, registrations of clinical mastitis are a more accurate breeding value base. Official registrations are done for 90% of cows in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. That results in a high reliability of breeding values for udder health.

A daughter of a bull with an estimated breeding value (EBV) of 120 in Udder Health will have less mastitis than a daughter of a bull with 100 EBV which is the population average for the breed. There really is a difference between bulls! For example, VikingHolstein EBV 120 for Udder Health means 42% less cases of mastitis relative to population average.

Learn how to improve
udder health in your herd
Learn more

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