Genetic Appetite

Avoid cows losing too much body condition in early lactation by breeding simultaneously for Production and Genetic Appetite. The heritability of BCS at 20 weeks into lactation is 45%, similar to milk production. This ensures future milk production increases won't require a more energy dense diet and eliminates meal in the dry period.

In early lactation the Moorepark €120 EBI herd dropped to Condition Score 2.7 at breeding, the €240 EBI herd dropped to Condition Score 2.9, while the Rossmore Dairy herd, bred for Production and Appetite maintained a body condition score of 3.3 at breeding. After a few more years of selecting for appetite the herd will maintain a BCS of 3.5 throughout the year while maintaining a high milk production. NZ studies show that half an Irish condition score not lost in early lactation is worth an additional €70/cow.

Benefits of increased BCS (Body Condition Score);

Moorepark quote; It's difficult to achieve BCS targets with HF cows that have been aggressively selected for increased milk yield. Research at Curtin’s farm has indicated that high-production type cows lose BC during early lactation, but fail to regain BC during the remainder of the lactation. Feeding higher levels of concentrate to these cows results in higher milk production, but doesn't improve BCS during lactation. In the long term, these cows are unsuitable for seasonal-calving grass-based systems of production.