Can you measure feed efficiency of offspring?

15-06-2016 | |
<em>Photo: Eric Isselée</em>
Photo: Eric Isselée

Dutch dairy farmers can view how feed efficient the offspring of sires are. This is what Wageningen University reports.

The Netherlands is one of the first countries in the world publishing this breeding value. Australia published their Feed Saved breeding value in April 2015.

This breeding value enables selecting on higher feed efficiency. The breeding value for feed intake shows how much more or less the offspring of sires eat for their production and maintenance. By using this breeding value for feed intake in relation to the breeding values for milk production and live weight, it is possible to breed more efficient cows.

Dairy farmers themselves benefit from low feed intakes as feed costs are the highest variable costs on a farm. It is expected that the feed costs will only rise whereas the milk prices drop. Selecting more efficient cows helps them to lower the cost price.

Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor