The aggregated financial benefit of using dairy specific genetic indexes in the UK has been estimated at between 2.2 and 2.4 billion pounds between 1980 and 2011. The evolution of the Profitable Lifetime Index (ŁPLI) over the last 10 years has paid a significant part in this.
In 2013/14 AHDB Dairy conducted a review of the ŁPLI with the industry’s Genetics Advisory Forum. This review resulted in the ŁPLI being updated, with reduced emphasis on milk and increased weighting on constituent’s and health traits along with the introduction of a ‘Maintenance’ value and calving ease to ensure a farms future genetics fit their system. In addition to updating the ŁPLI the recommendation was also for the development and introduction of a new Spring Calving Index (ŁSCI) to enable farmers on a low-input, spring-calving, grass-based system to select bulls based on UK conditions and markets to maximise their return.
These changes, along with the Herd Genetic Reports (web-based interactive report for dairy females – www.dairy.ahdb.org.uk/breeding) and growing use of genomics make it a very exciting time for UK dairy farmers to ensure they breed an efficient, healthy cow to maximise the return on their chosen system.