Type traits (Australian Breeding Values – ABVs)

Australian Breeding Values are available for more than 20 type traits which are
assessed by breed association classifiers. ABVs for type traits are expressed
against the breed average which is set at 100. A bull’s type ABVs are based on his
daughters’ classifications, including both registered and non-registered daughters.
ABVs are available for:

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Composite type traits

Dairy farmers are often more interested in a group of traits which combine to affect a cow’s functional performance in the herd.

An ABV based on a combination of traits is referred to as a ‘composite’ trait.

DataGene publishes ABVs for four composite type traits: mammary system, feet & legs, dairy strength and rump.

The Overall Type ABV is a combination of all traits, so is also technically a composite. At this stage, the only composites published for Jerseys are mammary system and overall type.

There are some variations in the composites provided to each breed as a result of differences in classification systems.

Overall type

The Overall Type ABV is a reflection of a cow’s overall classification score which is based on 23 linear traits as assessed by breed associations. An animal’s Overall Type ABV refers to its ability to produce daughters with higher classification scores. Cows with a higher Overall Type ABV are often more structurally sound; which contributes to longer herd life. This is why overall type is included in all three indices – BPI, HWI and Sustainability Index.

To improve overall type in your herd choose animals with an Overall Type ABV of greater than 100.

Dairy strength

The Dairy Strength ABV is a composite trait, incorporating dairy strength classification score,

  • Stature
  • Angularity
  • Muzzle width
  • Chest width
  • Body length
  • Body depth

The Rump ABV is calculated from rump classification score,

  • Rump length
  • Pin set
  • Pin width
  • Loin strength
Feet & legs

Sturdy and sound feet and legs are important for Australian dairy cows in grazing systems. The Feet & Leg ABV is calculated from feet & legs classification score,

  • Rear Heel depth
  • Foot angle
  • Rear set
  • Rear leg rear view
  • Bone quality
Mammary system

The Mammary System ABV is a composite ABV calculated using a number of individual udder trait ABVs.

Individual traits are

  • Udder texture
  • Udder depth
  • Fore attachment
  • Rear attachment – height
  • Rear attachment – width
  • Centre ligament
  • Teat placement – front
  • Teat placement – rear

Cows with good udders last longer in the herd and are easier to milk. This is why mammary system is included in all three indices – BPI, HWI and Sustainability Index.

To improve mammary system choose animals with a Mammary System ABV of greater than 100.