What are Wellness Traits ?
Wellness traits include mastitis, lameness, metritis, retained placenta, displaced abomasum and ketosis. These events negatively impact the health of individual animals and the profitability of the herd, as indicated in the table below.
How can Wellness Traits be used ?
World Wide Sires, in collaboration with Select Sires and Accelerated Genetics, is providing two innovative indexes recently developed by Zoetis to support customers in their efforts to breed healthier cows. The Wellness Trait Index™ (WT$™) and the Dairy Wellness Profit Index™ (DWP$™) were reviewed by geneticists from Select Sires and Accelerated Genetics and reflect the input and knowledge of a team of industry experts. The data used to develop the wellness trait evaluations was collected from millions of health records within U.S. commercial Holstein herds. These indexes are currently available for Holsteins and use wellness trait information from the CLARIFIDE Plus genomic test to predict lifetime profitability based on additional wellness information. Both WT$ and DWP$ are expressed as the expected differences in lifetime profitability for the given traits included in the index. These indexes provide dairy producers two new ways to incorporate selection emphasis on wellness traits into their breeding program.
“The new tools developed by Zoetis with CLARIFIDE Plus provide us with more detailed information about health and wellness,” says Chuck Sattler, Select Sires vice president of genetic programs. “This will allow us to more directly select for healthy dairy cows and will help producers improve the wellness and profitability of their herd.”
What is the difference between WT$ and DWP$?
WT$ focuses exclusively on six wellness traits (mastitis, lameness, metritis, retained placenta, displaced abomasum and ketosis) and includes an economic value for Polled test results.
WWS proven and GForce sires with ≥120 WT$ will receive the Wellness designation.
DWP$ is a multi-trait selection index which includes production, fertility, type, longevity and the wellness traits, including Polled test results. Selection for DWP$ in females can result in a difference of lifetime profit of more than $1,200 between the top 10th percentile of ranked animals and the bottom 10th percentile.
How does DWP$ compare to NM$ ?
DWP$ is a complete index that accounts for the value of production, fertility, longevity and resistance to disease (as measured by the value of the six wellness traits). The relationship between the wellness traits and traditionally measured traits, such as PL, SCS, DPR and HCR, ensures that some genetic progress will be made in the wellness traits when using almost any selection index. In regards to traditional traits, the DWP$ formula is very similar to the NM$ formula, although the genetic progress for production traits when using DWP$ is lower than when using NM$. However, the inclusion of the wellness traits in DWP$ more accurately predicts how much additional profit the individual animal will generate during her lifetime and ensures more rapid genetic progress for the specified wellness traits.