To enquire about classifying your herd, call our team on 01923 695208.
Type Classification is a service available to members to assist in breeding a trouble free, long living, high production cow. In April 2019 a new scoring system was introduced moving to five composite areas and seeing the removal of dairy strength and body conformation. The three new areas are dairy capacity, rump and dairy character. The addition of three new composite areas enables the classifiers to help correct faults that were being seen in the breed which included high pins, short teats, high tail heads and legs becoming too straight.
The assessment of 24 linear type traits to produce five composite scores and the analysis of 5 welfare traits has been proven to directly impact cattle productivity. The four new traits introduced are udder tilt, height at front udder, thurl position and loin strength which weighting of each of the composite adjusted to support the changes to the scoring system.
In the past 5 years, there has been a 20% increase in classified cattle representing the direct link between breeding the right type of cow for your system and farm profitability. Highly graded animals are proven to have a considerably higher value than non-classified animal. Specific strengths and weaknesses are highlighted allowing improved corrective breeding decisions to be made, and the general standard of conformation to be improved across the herd. Cattle of a better conformation are proven to be more productive, less demanding and longer-living.
Holstein UK operates the national type appraisal scheme for dairy cattle in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Through the scheme, cattle are assessed for conformation by one of the accredited team of classifiers. The cows are awarded an overall grade (eg VG, EX) and score, and they are also measured for 24 individual type traits. The service has two key benefits:
Holstein UK currently type classifies over 150,000 animals each year across 17 different dairy and beef breeds. Most of these classifications are carried out for private farmers but many are also undertaken on behalf of the AI industry. From these classifications, genetic indexes for type are calculated on behalf of Holstein UK by the Canadian Dairy Network. These are expressed as Type Merit for sires, and the individual type traits are generally shown on a bar chart. The Holstein UK type classification scheme is the only type appraisal programme in the British Isles that is internationally recognised by the World Holstein Friesian Federation.
A separate classification scheme exists for the British Friesian qualifying animal, ie 87.5% or greater. Bar charts are produced on a Friesian base.
Type classification is an important tool in the management of a profitable dairy herd. The information may be used in computerised mating programs to gain the optimum genetic improvement, at the same time as improving the financial value of the animal.
Type classification has two basic components, linear assessment and classification score.
Each trait is scored between the biological extremes on a scale of 1 - 9.
It describes the degree of the trait rather than its desirability.
The linear traits are as follows:
90 - 97 Excellent (EX)
85-89 Good Plus (GP)
75-79 Good (G)
65-74 Fair (F)
50-64 Poor (P)
In addition a similar score and grade are awarded to each of the four main functional areas of the cow, body conformation, dairy character, legs/feet and mammary. A final score and grade is calculated from combining the score of these four assessments.
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