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4 Jun 2021

Shallow udders and production

Shallow udders and increases in production go “hand in hand”

Are you looking to improve udder conformation in your cows and at the same time achieve increases in production?

VikingGenetics breeding programs for all breeds put a lot of emphasis on udder traits like Fore udder attachment and Udder depth. The result is a very high genetic trend that compensates fully for the effects that production increases have on udder traits.

Genetic trends are high, and so are production increases

When looking at the genetic trends in cows for Fore udder attachment and Udder depth over the last five years, you will see that the increase has been stable for all three Dairy breeds, VikingRed, VikingHolstein and VikingJersey.

The trends for Fore udder attachment and Udder depth have been positive.

Fore udder attachment:

  • +8.4 units for VikingRed
  • +5.6 units for VikingHolstein
  • +3.6 units for VikingJersey

Udder depth:

  • +5.5 units for VikingRed
  • +8.3 units for VikingHolstein
  • +5.4 units for VikingJersey

These trends are impressive when you consider that production increased during the same period. VikingRed cows increased their production with 610 kg ECM,

VikingHolstein increased their production with 866 kg ECM and VikingJersey increased their production with 491 kg ECM.

Increased production does not affect udder classification

In this case, the positive genetic trend fully compensates for the effects of increased production. By looking at the average score on Fore udders and Udder depth, you can get a good impression of the effects.

For VikingRed, the average classification score on Fore udders changed from 5.2 to 5.1 between 2015 and 2020, for VikingHolstein the score remained the same (5.5) and for VikingJersey the score changed from 5.3 to 5.2.

For Udder depth, VR had the same score (5.4), VH increased its score from 6.2 to 6.3 and VJ maintained a score of 5.2.


Text by Peter Larson

Senior Jersey Breeding Manager

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