Choose your best sires with NZAEL

Find out how you can make better breeding decisions for improved profitability and enhanced sustainability on your farm, using NZAEL’s Breeding Worth Index.

Inside Dairy

2 min read

Breeding Worth (BW) is an index that can play a key role in helping you lift the value of your herd over time.

BW uses estimated breeding values and economic values to rank cows and bulls on their ability to breed profitable, efficient replacements. New Zealand Animal Evaluation Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of DairyNZ, calculates and delivers bull BW (see trait examples diagram below, bottom right).

We’ve also outlined below some of NZAEL’s very useful BW bull selection tools which you can use to select the right sires for your herd.

How BW works

As the industry-good organisation for genetic evaluation, NZAEL delivers independent Animal Evaluation (AE) information. AE assesses an animal’s performance and genetic potential for production traits (liveweight, milk volume, milkfat protein and milkfat yield) and robustness traits (somatic cell score, fertility, gestation length, functional survival, body condition score and udder overall). NZAEL performs an independent evaluation for each animal to create a farmer guide which transparently ranks bulls. This provides farmers with a like-for-like comparison, so they can make the best breeding decisions for their herd.

Keeping BW robust

A big part of NZAEL’s role is to provide an independent AE system that farmers can trust and that delivers genetic gains. NZAEL is working to improve industry data standards, which will increase accuracy of data collected from both farmers and breeding companies. The more accurate the data, the faster the rates of genetic gain in the dairy herd.

NZAEL works continuously to improve BW and reflect traits that New Zealand farmers find important. This includes developing new Breeding Worth or Breeding Value traits and improving data capture, input, and modelling in the AE system.

Effective emphasis on individual traits within breeding worth pie chart

Effective emphasis of traits in the BW Index.

Top tools

RAS list

Select bulls based on NZAEL’s Ranking of Active Sires (RAS list). Released monthly, it details top-ranking dairy sires according to their Breeding Worth (BW).

Ranking of Active Sires

Bull Search

Use this tool to find the best bulls for you. View, filter and compare active sires to create a bull team that meets your breeding goals.

Bull Search

Bull Team Builder

Select bulls from the RAS list or the Bull Search tool and see how your bull team ranks against national benchmarks. Sort bulls based on traits and remove animals which don’t meet your criteria.

Bull Team

This article was originally published in Inside Dairy February-March 2024.

Page last updated:

1 Feb 2024