Reliable data

Key advantage for the Nordic countries when selecting directly for health traits

Breeding directly for health traits is possible. With a large volume of high quality and reliable data for the actual disease cases, you can measure and keep track of health traits. Some people argue that it is difficult to make reliable proofs for individual disease traits, because you can't measure health traits in a similar way to measuring milk yield. At VikingGenetics, we are confident in saying this is not the case, because we have an extensive and reliable data recording system, and therefore the Nordic countries are able to breed for heath traits with the highest possible reliability.
We have put a great deal of effort into creating and improving the data collection system. This has only been possible by the standardisation of disease recording, educating farmers, veterinarians and hoof trimmers and collating all this information in the same database.
General Health and Udder Health are based on records made by veterinarians in the first three lactations. A high proportion of cows contributing data results in a high reliability of breeding values.
For registrations made by veterinarians, more than 80 different disease codes are used to describe the diagnoses that are categorised as follows:

Udder diseases

Reproductive diseases

Metabolic diseases 

Feet and leg diseases

For Hoof Health, data are mainly collected electronically by hoof trimmers but also by veterinarians and herd managers. The organization, Nordic Cattle Genetic Evaluation (NAV) always strives to ensure high reliability and quality of data. Only records from herds complying with strict rules are used in genetic evaluations.
Systematic data collection for health traits started in the early 1980s in Sweden and Finland and in 1990 in Denmark, the first countries in the world to do this. After 2006, registration was started on a smaller scale in other countries including Austria, Canada, France, United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US).

Data registrations for VikingDefenceTM

The strength of the registration system in the Nordic countries is that the data are based on a very high proportion of cows rather than certain selected herds. 90% of cows provide data for General Health and Udder Health, while 40% of cows provide electronic data from hoof trimmers.