Body condition score (BCS) has been proposed for inclusion in the New Zealand national dairy index, Breeding Worth (BW), to account for replenishment of body tissue. Currently, the breeding objectives model positively accounts for body tissue mobilisation (through extra yield), but not the negative cost of replenishing body tissue. Two methods have been proposed: 1) Including BCS directly into BW by calculating and assigning an economic value to BCS and 2) Adjusting liveweight Breeding Values (BVs) for BCS, which would mean that liveweight BVs would be expressed at a constant BCS (indirect method). Energy equations were used to calculate the direct economic value for BCS and included a sensitivity analysis. With an economic weight of $25, the percentage emphasis of BCS in BW would be 3.4%. Including BCS in BW, either directly or indirectly, had little impact on sire rankings (rank correlations with and without BCS within breed were >0.99) and would only have a small impact on the economic response of BW ($0.02 net /cow/annum) and the improvement in BCS (0.006 BCS units/cow/annum). It is concluded that there would be little benefit to including BCS as an independent trait in BW. Body condition score is already included as a predictor in the genetic evaluation of fertility and breeding values for BCS will be estimated routinely from the fertility model.

JE, Pryce, BL Harris, DL Johnson, and WA Montgomerie

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 66, Napier, 103-106, 2006
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