GENEX Publishes Subclinical Ketosis Breeding Values

Cow number 8798 freshened eight days ago. The cow appears to be transitioning well, at least from the outside. What you can’t see is what’s going on inside of her. Now, however, GENEX is providing you with a new way to genetically select for animals that are healthier and transition well.

Controlling and limiting early lactation metabolic disease is key to getting animals off to the right start. Now, GENEX is offering members and customers another way – a genetic way –  to control and limit ketosis. GENEX has published a Subclinical Ketosis (SCK) breeding value, an industry-leading comprehensive measure that takes into consideration both clinical (observed) and subclinical ketosis. This new breeding value is a prime example of the cooperative’s dedication to data-driven innovation for the genetic improvement of members’ herds.

Subclinical Ketosis Impacts
Subclinical ketosis has a 40-60% incidence rate with a large percentage of fresh cows never exhibiting symptoms. For the advanced clinical condition, the incidence rate is 10-15%.

Research conducted by the cooperative's research arm, known as the CRI ICB, indicates cows with subclinical ketosis have:

  • 3.4-8.2 lbs less peak milk yield
  • 14,000-18,000 higher somatic cells during lactation
  • 3-4% higher likelihood of developing a DA
  • 5-7% lower first service conception rates
  • 5-8% higher cull rates
  • BHBA levels ≥ 1.2 mmol

The severity of subclinical ketosis impacts increases with lactation number or if onset occurs with fewer days in milk. These impacts lead to an average cost of $289 per case of subclinical ketosis.1

In addition, a recent article by Dr. Barry Bradford and Gail Carpenter of Kansas State University stated that ketosis and other early lactation diseases go hand in hand. This confirms an animal that is positive for ketosis is more susceptible to other early lactation metabolic diseases.

SCK Breeding Value
SCK has a base of 100. If sire A is 105 and sire B is 95, then daughters of sire A are expected to average 0.185 lower for predicted blood beta-hydroxybutate (BHBA). SCK heritability is 11.9%.

Selection for improved animal health will be made when SCK is used in conjunction with sire selection criteria like the Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index

W-08869-15-KetoMonitor.jpgSCK Development

SCK is calculated using data from the KetoMonitor® management tool which monitors herd ketosis prevalence through layering of milk-based diagnostics and individual cow data. KetoMonitor®, available from AgSource Cooperative Services, was developed in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Dairy Science and School of Veterinary Medicine. This was followed by additional research and breeding value calculation by CRI ICB staff.

Industry Leader for Health Selection
When choosing sires, remember SCK is …

  • An industry-leading breeding value selecting for both clinical and subclinical ketosis.
  • A genetic selection tool to help manage the costs associated with subclinical ketosis, such as lost production, early culling, decreased reproductive performance and subsequent health problems.
  • A valuable sire selection tool to improve cow health when used in combination with the ICC$ index.
  • The result of collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Dairy Science and School of Veterinary Medicine, AgSource, the CRI ICB and GENEX.W-13263-16-Innovation-Traits.jpg

1 J.A.A. McArt, D.V. Nydham, M.W. Overton, Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 98, Issue 3, 2015, 2043-2054