This paper provides the basis for a new method for calculating fertility breeding values. The objective of this study was to: firstly, investigate the data extract of mating and calving records from Livestock Improvement`s national database to identify improvements, secondly investigate the definition of the fertility trait from percent of calves born from artificial insemination (AI) to 42 day calving rate, and thirdly explore the inclusion of milk production and body condition score information. The overall aim was to improve the accuracy of the fertility breeding values available when a sire`s daughters have completed their first lactation (i.e., the time of the sire`s first proof). A new procedure for routine national evaluation of these traits is outlined. Results from the new system are given. Possible future enhancements to the new system are discussed. The new method improves the accuracy of the fertility breeding value for first crop sires with 80 daughters from 45% to 52%. The inclusion of body condition score and milk production in the calculation of the fertility breeding value improves the response to selection for fertility within breeding worth index by 34% per annum. The improvement in response to selection is worth 0.18 $/cow/year or approximately $700,000 annually to the dairy industry.

BL, Harris, JE Pryce, ZZ Xu, and WA Montgomerie

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 66, Napier, 107-112, 2006
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