CRV’s Better Life figures are proving to be highly effective in significantly improving the technical results of herds. Irrefutable proof has been provided by analysis of 61,000 animals on almost 300 farms in the Netherlands and Belgium.
CRV introduced the Better Life figures in 2013 as practical indicators aimed at helping farmers breed efficient, easy-to-manage herds. Each CRV bull is scored for these traits. Large-scale analysis in practical situations has revealed the huge value of these figures for breeding purposes.
Higher lifetime production per cow
The effect of Better Life Efficiency is immense. For instance, for lifetime production, a rule of thumb generated by this study is that each improvement of Better Life Efficiency by 1% in the herd, results in additional lifetime production of 1,500 kg.
A comparison of the 25% highest scoring animals with the 25% lowest scorers also shows:
– 13,086 kg higher lifetime production (based on more than 22,000 culled animals);
– 2047 kg higher milk production (305 days);
– 16% higher in herd average;
– 146 kg extra fat and protein (305 days).
So higher scores for Better Life Efficiency results in huge differences that are highly relevant in practical applications. The 25% highest scoring animals for Better Life Efficiency showed a marginally longer calving interval (+15 days), which can chiefly be attributed to the much higher milk production in this group. Farmers therefore start insemination slightly later.
Better health and fertility
The clearly beneficial effects also apply to Better Life Health, in the areas of both health and fertility. The 25% highest scoring animals compared with the 25% lowest scorers showed:
– 39% lower incidence of sub-clinical mastitis (on average in first three lactations);
– 23% fewer claw disorders (on average in first three lactations);
– 55% fewer stillborn calves at their first calving;
– 57% lower incidence of ketosis (on average in first three lactations);
– 26-day shorter calving interval.
Breeding Data Plus farms
To analyse the figures, CRV used data from almost 300 farms where the performance of the cows can be linked directly to genetic predisposition based on genomic analysis. Better Life figures appear to be an extremely suitable and valuable tool that can be utilised when selecting bulls and young stock.