Selection for profit in cattle: I. Economic weights for purebred dairy cattle in the Czech Republic

M Wolfová, J Wolf, J Kvapilík, J Kica
Journal of Dairy Science 2007, 90 (5): 2442-55
A bioeconomic model for dairy cattle production was used to estimate economic values of 18 traits for dairy sires in purebred Holstein and Czech Fleckvieh populations. Economic values were defined as partial derivatives of the profit function with respect to each trait in a closed production system with dairy cow herds and integrated fattening of bulls. All revenues and costs associated with cows calving in the herds within one year and with their progeny were discounted at 5% per annum back to the date of calving. Calculations were carried out for the situation in the Czech Republic in 2005 (scenario 1: market quotas for milk yield and fat percentage) and for the expected situation in 2015 (scenario 2: free market). The relative economic importance of each trait was expressed as a ratio of the standardized economic value of that trait (its marginal economic value multiplied by its genetic standard deviation) to the standardized economic value of 305-d milk yield, with average fat and protein percentages. In addition to milk yield, somatic cell score was the second most important trait, achieving 32% to 43% of the value for milk yield in both scenarios. The relative importance of milk components differed notably between scenarios. The relative importance was approximately zero for protein and from -14 to -23% for fat percentage in scenario 1, but changed to 38% for protein and 27 to 31% for fat percentage in scenario 2. In both scenarios and for both breeds, the relative economic values for somatic cell score and length of productive life of cows were similar to those for fat and protein percentages in scenario 2. The smallest relative economic values (less than 4% of the relative importance of milk yield) were for birth weight, conception rate of heifers, and carcass traits. In conclusion, relative emphasis among traits in the breeding objective for Czech dairy cattle should be reassessed according to the expected situation after shifting to a free market economy in 2015.

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