Performance index - a method for calculation of present value for each cow

Last changed: 12 May 2022

Why does a dairy cow stay in her herd for such a short time? There is evidence that we place too much value on heifers. This project will develop an objective method for comparing cows and heifers.

Sustainable milk production requires dairy cows that are sustainable. There are many reasons to try to keep cows in the herd for a long time. For the farmer it is primarily about economics, for society it is primarily about reducing climate impact and for the consumer it is about ethics and animal welfare. Some efforts have been made to increase the longevity of the Swedish dairy cow, but they have not had a major impact. Research suggests that one of the reasons is to be found in farmers' recruitment decisions.

The aim of the project is to develop a method to calculate the economic value of each cow at each point in time. This method will estimate the value today of the future performance of an individual, i.e. it will make a prediction for an individual cow's production (milk, meat and calves), fertility and health, as well as feed costs for the near future. Our hypothesis is that such an objective comparison will fall out in favour of an existing cow to a large extent, compared to a heifer, and thus have the consequence of retaining her for a further period of time, thereby extending the productive lifetime of the herd.

Projecttime and funding:
The project is funded by Lantmännens Forskningsstiftelse (ID: 2020H013)
Projectstart: 2021-01-01



Ulf Emanuelson, Researcher
Department of Clinical Sciences, SLU, +46(0)18-67 18 26