Ranking of stats for cows' genetic level of NM$
Minnesota Holstein dairy producers have done a relatively good job of selecting for NM$ with Minnesota ranking 6th of the 50 states (Table 2). Florida ranks first with an average PTA NM$ of $215, which is only $23 higher than Minnesota. Minnesota is $10 higher than Wisconsin and $21 higher than California. For the non-Holstein breeds, Minnesota ranks 4th for Brown Swiss for PTA NM$, 12th for Guernseys and Milking Shorthorn, 18th for Ayrshire, and 29th for Jerseys.
Considerations for breeding more profitable cows
- Select AI bulls based on NM$.
- Breed heifers to calving ease sires.
- Avoid eliminating high NM$ bulls based on minimum standards for individual traits. For example, it is ill-advised to stipulate that bulls be at least plus 1000 pounds milk and plus 1 on udder composite. If a high ranking NM$ bull is low in one trait, he makes up for it by excelling in other traits.
- Minimize inbreeding levels by using an AI stud or breed association mating program.
- Take semen price, availability, and sire conception rate into account.
- If crossbreeding, use high ranking NM$ or high index sires within each breed.
Table 1. Genetic value change for cows born in 2010 versus 2005.
Table 2. Ranking of states by PTA NM$ for cows calving during the first 10 months of 2013 that have USDA genetic evaluations. Included are high ranking, Midwest and major milk producing states.
|Acknowledgement: Data from Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, USDA.|