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5 Jan 2024 - NTM Unlocked #7

Production index for profitable dairy business

A dairy cow’s milk and solids production is one of her most important traits. Without the ability to produce sufficient milk rich in fat and protein, the cow is not supporting a sustainable and profitable dairy business.

You can easily identify your cows’ genetic potential for milk, fat, and protein production by looking at their sires’ Production index.

TM, the overall breeding value for production – the Production index – is a combination of three components measured across a cow’s first three lactations: 

  • Kg of milk
  • Kg of fat 
  • Kg protein

NTM also has separate breeding values for fat and protein percentages.

We use a unique formula to calculate the Production index based on these three components. However, the formula varies between breeds and is slightly different for VikingJersey than for VikingRed and VikingHolstein.  

VikingRed & VikingHolstein: 

Milk x (-0.25) + Fat x (0.55) + Protein x (0.70)


Milk x (-0.30) + Fat x (0.65) + Protein x (0.65)

VikingRed cow

Why do we have a negative weight for kg of milk?

In the Nordic countries, we have realised that breeding for higher fat and protein components is more profitable and efficient. Therefore, there is a negative weight on kilograms of milk.

This way, we can improve overall production and the quality of the milk, i.e. optimising the levels of solids. This is of great importance because, in the modern dairy business, milk components have increasingly become as important as volume alone. More and more dairies are paying farmers for milk solids.

Daughters from a bull with an estimated breeding value (EBV) of 120 for the sub-traits in the Production index will produce more kg of higher-quality milk than the average cow.

The average Nordic VikingHolstein cow – with an EBV of 100 – produces 11,355 kg of milk with 4.07% fat and 3.47% protein over her first three 305-day lactations. In comparison, a daughter of a bull with EBV 120 for the sub-traits in the Production index will produce an extra +45 kg of solids and +656 kg of milk.

Reliability is NTM’s signature - our production index is based on milk recording data from 95% of all commercial dairy herds in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.

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Production index NTM

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