Production worth (PW) is an economic index estimating the efficiency that a cow converts feed into farm profit. Breeding worth (BW) is another economic index that estimates a cow's or sire’s ability to breed profitable replacements. This study evaluates how well PW and BW are correlated with net income (NI) per 4.5 tonnes (t) of dry matter (DM) consumed on a pasture based New Zealand dairy farm. During the 2009/10 season at Massey Number 4 Dairy Farm, cow milk yield and composition were determined at monthly herd tests, and live weight data was automatically collected twice daily using a walk-over-weigh system. The results show that this herd is achieving a genetic gain of $6.74 BW per year. Correlations of 0.52 and 0.31 (P <0.001) were found between NI per 4.5 t DM and PW and BW, respectively. The NI per 4.5 t DM was higher in cows between 3- to 9-years-old than first lactation cows. The NI per 4.5 t DM was also strongly correlated with the milk, fat and protein yields (P <0.001). This study confirms that PW, rather than BW, better reflects the genetic capability of a cow to convert feed into farm profit.

BJ, Clark, JG Garcia-Muniz, PJ Black, and N Lopez-Villalobos

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 73, Hamilton, 17-20, 2013
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