CAN BREEDING IMPROVE HOOF HEALTH?
THE ANSWER IS DEFINITELY YES!

Hoof disorders are heritable. Even though the heritability of hoof health may be rather low compared to other traits, it has been confirmed that there is sufficient variation in the population. Research shows that the prevalence of hoof disorders is considerably lower in progeny of sires with favorable hoof health breeding values. Being treated in the same way, some cows will have hoof problems, and others will not.  Moreover, some of the cows will recover easier, while others will have hoof problems more often and with greater severity.  

That is why breeding for resistance to hoof disorders could help decrease the prevalence of hoof health
problems in dairy herds. 

Good management and improving the environment are important short-term solutions for hoof health problems. Learn about the key management practices to prevent hoof problems in your herd - Download our leaflet.

 Genetics is an important long-term solution and the good news is that genetics is effort-free! You just need
to include hoof health into your breeding strategy, stick to the plan and rely on NTM (the Nordic Total Merit Index) to select the bulls that have strong genes for hoof health in combination with other traits that are
important for your herd.  

When you breed for better hoof health, you invest in the future of your herd. You get fewer diseases for each generation, so the investment will pay off more and more with each generation. Genetic improvement that you achieve is a permanent and desired improvement cumulate through generations.
In our NTM, there are two traits that can help you breed for better hoof health. The Hoof Health index that covers 10 different hoof disorders and ‘Feet & Leg problems’ sub-trait under the General Health index. 
Learn more about Hoof Health index in NTM.