Aarhus University Seal

Derivation of economic values for German dairy breeds by means of a bio-economic model—with special emphasis on functional traits

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • C. Schmidtmann, Kiel University
  • ,
  • G. Thaller, Kiel University
  • ,
  • M. Kargo
  • D. Hinrichs, University of Kassel
  • ,
  • J. Ettema, SEGES, Simherd A/S

To assess the economic importance of breeding traits, economic values (EV) were derived for 3 German dairy cattle breeds: German Holstein (HOL), Angler (ANG), and Red and White Dual-Purpose (RDN). For that purpose, the stochastic bio-economic model SimHerd (SimHerd A/S, Viborg, Denmark) was used, which simulates the expected monetary gain in dairy herds. The EV was calculated as the alteration in average net return of the herd responding to a marginal change in the trait of interest. When deriving EV using SimHerd, economic consequences resulting from changes in the age structure of a dairy herd (i.e., structural herd effects) are considered. However, this requires the simulation of relationships between traits in the bio-economic model. To avoid double counting, the EV of a trait was corrected for effects from alterations in correlated traits using multiple regression analysis. The EV were derived for 23 traits in terms of production, conformation and workability, dairy health, calf survival, and reproduction performance. Furthermore, the relative economic importance of the breeding traits was calculated. Relative emphasis on production was between 39.9 and 44.4% in the breeds studied. Total costs per case of ketosis and metritis ranged from €167 to €196 and €173 to €182, respectively. Highest marginal EV of direct health traits were found for mastitis (€257 to €271 per case) and lameness (€270 to €310 per case). Consequently, relative emphasis on direct health traits was between 15.7 and 17.9%. The EV of reproduction performance showed largest differences among the cattle breeds. Overall relative emphasis on reproduction was 10.5% in HOL, 10.8% in ANG, and 6.5% in RDN. The relative economic importance of cow mortality ranged from 15.5 to 16.0% across the breeds. Collectively, the study showed the high economic importance of functional traits in the cattle breeds studied.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Pages (from-to)3144-3157
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

    Research areas

  • bio-economic model, breeding goal, dairy cattle, economic value

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 208436913