REAL WORLD DATA PROVES – VIKINGGENETICS’ HIGH HOOF HEALTH IS PROVEN IN REAL LIFE

The Nordic Cattle Genetic Evaluation (NAV) conducted the study to investigate the difference in hoof health between cows with high and low Hoof Health index.

50 Holstein herds in Denmark were included in the analysis. To provide a fair comparison, the cows were divided into three groups for each herd based on their Hoof Health index – high, medium and low. The average difference between cows with highest and lowest index for Hoof Health is equal to 12 index units. 

Within each herd, the average level of different diseases was calculated in each of the three  groups. The differences between the groups with the highest and lowest Hoof Health index in each herd were then calculated. Finally, all the differences were combined into a group average across herds. The analysis was conducted to investigate if cows with the highest Hoof Health index, actually have less hoof diseases, compared to those with the lowest Hoof Health index. 
The analysis revealed that the group of cows with the highest Hoof Health index has less incidence of various hoof disorders. For digital dermatitis, cows in the best third have 7.7% less incidence of diseases. The population average for Holstein cows in Denmark for the first 3 lactations is 20.4% that means 37% less disease. For sole ulcer, cows with the highest Hoof Health index have 4.4% less incidence. Relative to the average level of sole ulcer in Denmark 5.1% for Holstein cows (first 3 lactations), the best third of cows have 86% less sole ulcer. That is such impressive results! Sole ulcer has the highest weight in Hoof Health index, therefore we could see such a significant difference in sole ulcer level. 
This analysis confirmed that Hoof Health index is a useful tool to improve hoof health. Breeding values for Hoof Health reveal the actual genetic level of cows. Cows with high Hoof Health index have less hoof problems compared to cows with a low Hoof Health index. 

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