Balance of Traits to Genetic Impact

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Source: CDCB

The lifetime merit indices promote a balance of traits to maximize dairy cow profitability. These CDCB indices estimate the difference in lifetime profit that each animal is expected to transmit to its progeny, expressed in U.S. dollars.

Indices are valuable tools in cattle breeding because they combine many traits into a single value that drives genetic progress, ranks animals and streamlines management decisions. Net Merit accounts for more than 40 traits –  including production yield, conformation, health and fitness, fertility and feed intake. Some traits are represented through composites, such as calving ability, health dollars, udder, feet and legs, and body weight.

When a trait has both economic value and genetic variation, including it in the lifetime merit indices increases profitability for dairy herds using the index.

Traits are weighted based on their genetic impact on farm profitability.

Image from usacattlegenetics.com