Health evaluations will become available to Jersey breeders beginning in April. These evaluations are coming from the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) and derived from Jersey data recorded by Dairy Herd Information (DHI) herds. Six health conditions were evaluated and will be made available to the public. These traits include displaced abomasum, milk fever, ketosis, mastitis, metritis and retained placenta. These are six extremely costly heath conditions which impact Jersey cattle. The same traits have been available for Holsteins since April 2018.
The American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) aided in the effort of creating access to more Jersey heath trait data to the national collaborators’ database so genetic predictions can be generated. As producers begin to see the benefits of the new heath data, the hope is for additional herds to begin submitting data. A perk for these producers is herds with recorded health data can qualify for reduced fees when genotyping. While it is advantageous to have these genetic evaluations for the A.I. bulls, herds who supply the data receive highly accurate Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTAs) on their heifers and cows.
When these numbers become available, the way to understand the value of the number is simple. The larger the positive value, the more favorable it is for resistance against the disorder. Therefore, less health events occurred compared to the Jersey breed average. These values can be used to compare the potential extra costs and expenses from certain bull daughters or cow families in a herd.
Additional information and explanations will become available in the future from the AJCA. Please contact Cari Wolfe with questions regarding this topic.
For a more in-depth explanation on the Jersey health evaluations, visit this document from the CDCB.