The current health and genetic (production) status of the Norwegian Red cattle (review of literature)
Laastad Kvamme, Agnete
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Dairy industry has been of great importance in Norway throughout history, and there are currently approximately 230 000 dairy cows in the country producing an average of 7500 kilos milk yearly. There is always a desire to improve the production, and in this thesis the goal is to review and analyse the current breeding programs and production data of the Norwegian Red cattle, a breed that has been developed over several decades and involved many different breeds in the search for the perfect Norwegian cattle breed to both meet the demands and withstand the climate. Due to this, history is a significant part of understanding the breeding goals. Following the history, the previous breeding program will be explained and evaluated. Earlier, the process was done exclusively by progeny testing, making it a long, thorough and time consuming process. With the new method of genomic selection, the breeding interval will be significantly shorter, meaning a faster process of selecting the best animals for further breeding. The two programs will be reviewed and the goal is to analyse what benefits the new program has led to and it will be answered why it is a challenge to only evaluate animals by genotypes and not by phenotypes as well. When evaluating the programs, the breeding values needs to be assessed using the current total merit index, as this lays out how much emphasis there currently are with regards to each characteristic. The significance of the conformation will be discussed as well as the current health status.