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Economic Breeding Index

Irish Bred Cattle Only

The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) first launched the EBI (Economic Breeding Index) in 2001. The EBI has been developed over the last 5 years and now contains information on some 19 traits related to profitable dairy farming.

EBI is a single figure profit index aimed at helping farmers identify the most profitable bulls and cows for breeding dairy herd replacements.

It comprises of information on five Sub-Indexes related to profitable milk production. These are:

1. Production   2. Fertility   3. Calving   4. Beef   5. Health

Foot angle, Udder Depth, Angularity and Body Condition Score are also indirectly included in the EBI through their contribution to calving interval and survival breeding values.

A summary of the Sub-Indexes, including traits and relative weightings, are given in the following table. The economic values in the index are based on data collected from Irish Dairy Farms and the Irish Dairy Industry.

Sub-index Trait Econ.
Production Milk -0.084 14% 48%
Fat 1.55 9%
Protein 5.27 25%
Fertility Calving Interval -7.17 17% 31%
Survival 10.8 14%
Calving Direct Calving Difficulty -3.26 3% 8%
Maternal Calving Difficulty -1.73 1%
Gestation -4.47 3%
Calf Mortality -2.58 1%
Beef Cull Cow 0.04 0.2% 7%
Carcass Weight 1.4 5%
Carcass Conformation 5.99 1%
Carcass Fat -4.49 1%
Health Lameness 1.13 0.4% 6%
Udder -55.48 5%

  Economic values & %-emphasis of traits in EBI Formula

Future developments in the EBI

Developments for 2006 will include further work on functional type (IHFA, ICBF and Teagasc are currently undertaking a major review of the functional type traits linked to dairy herd profit), work on herd-life (to reward cows that last more than 4 lactations) and work on SCC.

Animal Events

'Animal Events' is the ICBF on-farm data gathering system. It allows Calving Survey, Insemination, Milk recording, Beef Performance & Health information to be recorded. All data is stored in the ICBF Cattle Breeding Database, from where Animal Genetic Merit & Herd Performance Reports are generated for farmers that are using 'Animal Events'.

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