Behind the breeding values

Behind the breeding values

Animal registrations in the Nordic countries are the cornerstone in herd management for Nordic dairy farmers. At the same time, they are a unique base for estimation of breeding values that are used for selecting animals for breeding to improve the next generation of dairy cows.

Figure 1. Proportion of herds participating in registration.


A vast majority of the Nordic farmers contribute with registrations to the national databases. Also, veterinarians, AI-technicians and claw trimmers contribute to registration of all types of events during a cow’s life.

Nordic farmers make precise registrations. Their motivation to make registrations is to calculate key figures that are used to monitor the herd – a management tool to optimize profit. Through management programs dairy farmers can benchmark their own results with other farms.

The trend in the Nordic countries is in an increase in the application of on-farm electronic equipment that measure traits like daily milk, milk content, activity, milking speed, teat coordinates and feed intake. Lab test of milk content is also evolving in relation to traits like content of fatty acids and ketone bodies. This trend pushes in direction of larger amounts of data and data that are more objective and precise.