THREE new genetic evaluations have been launched by AHDB Dairy this month, and have been published for bulls which have progeny in the UK or have had their genotype submitted for assessment.

The three genotypes are lameness advantage (LA), calf survival (CS), and dairy carcase index (DCI), and a stand-alone list for all three is available on the AHDB Dairy website.

The lameness advantage (LA) is calculated directly from on-farm lameness incidents recorded by the milk recording organisations, NMR and CIS. This information is combined with existing data for locomotion and feet and legs, together with bone quality scores and digital dermatitis records from the National Bovine Data Centre (NBDC) type classification system. LA will be incorporated into profitable lifetime index (£PLI) later this year. LA is published on a scale of about -5 to +5 and for each percentage point, 1% fewer daughters go lame.

The calf survival (CS) PTA has been developed using close to three million animal records from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS), which show that calves of some sires are more likely to survive their first 300 days of life than those sired by other bulls. CS has not yet been incorporated into the UK’s national breeding index, £PLI, but is planned for inclusion later this year. Again published on a scale of about -5 to +5, it represents survival between tagging and 300 days. Each percentage point represents a 1% improvement in survival of a bull’s progeny.

The dairy carcase index (DCI) is primarily based on average daily carcase gain and carcase conformation calculated from weight and age data from most major abattoirs in the UK. The DCI will be of particular interest to dairy farmers producing youngstock for the beef supply chain or rearing their own beef. The DCI is not included in £PLI. DCI is also published on a scale of about -5 to +5 and for each percentage point, an improvement is predicted in both carcase conformation and average daily carcase gain in a bull’s progeny.