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5 Jan 2024 - NTM Unlocked #15

A reliable General health index

The General health index describes a bull’s daughters’ genetic potential to resist reproductive, metabolic, and feet & leg diseases.

This trait consists of five sub-traits with the breeding values available for each:

  • Early reproductive disorders (e.g., Retained placenta)
  • Late reproductive disorders
  • Metabolic diseases (e.g. metritis, milk fever)
  • Ketosis
  • Feet and leg problems

The General health index was included in the NTM index almost 40 years ago, and its reliability has only improved over the years.

With over 80 different disease diagnoses covered, it greatly complements the NTM’s Udder health and Hoof health traits. This means that, with the NTM, you get a full declaration of how healthy your cows can be.

Jersey cows

General health index

The General health index strongly correlates to NTM – a 30% correlation for VikingHolsteins. It also has a strong correlation with Daughter fertility (41%), Longevity (35%), Hoof health (30%) and Udder health (28%). This way, you can be sure that your healthiest cow will have long lives, get pregnant, and have good udders and strong feet.

Under the General health index, we also have breeding values for Acetone and BHB (Beta-hydroxybutyrate) - a measure of ketone bodies. This uses sub-clinical ketosis from milk recording as an indicator to increase the reliability of the breeding values.

The General Health index is calculated based on veterinary health records from the first three lactations of all registered cows in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden – over 90% of cows in the Nordics. This results in highly reliable breeding values for general health.

Want to learn how much improvement you could get from a bull with high breeding values for General health? Read the next entry of NTM Unlocked.

Learn more about the General health index
General health index NTM

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