Australia's Three Breeding Indices

The prosperity of the Australian dairy industry is underpinned by the profitability of the cows farmers milk. New breeding indices set an exciting path for genetic improvement in Australia.

The Balanced Performance Index (BPI) replaces the Australian Profit Ranking and achieves farm profit through a balance of longevity, health, type and efficient production. Two additional indices have been released to align to specific breeding philosophies, namely the Health Weighted Index (HWI) and Type Weighted Index (TWI).For the first time, breeding indices include feed saved. This new trait has been developed through ground breaking research from the Dairy Futures CRC and Department of Economic Development supported by Dairy Australia.

Choose Your Index

With three new breeding indices farmers now have choice. It is important that farmers feel confident to choose an index which best suits their breeding objectives. To support the release of the three new indices ADHIS have developed a simple ‘Choose your Index’ tool to help farmers in this decision process.


ADHIS0082 Good Bulls A4 Leaflet scaled for web DG

National Breeding Objective Review

The new indices are backed by strong science and in line with the farmer trait preferences. Under the guidance of an industry task force, the National Breeding Objective was reviewed and indices developed. Farmers and their advisors have directly contributed through Australia’s Longest Farmwalk and a sector wide survey to ensure these indices are right for the time. 
The review has concluded with three new breeding indices introduced in April 2015.
> The APR has been replaced by the Balanced Performance Index (BPI). This is an economic index that achieves overall profit and is in line with farmer preferences.
> In recognising different breeding philosophies, two additional indices have been introduced; the Health Weighted Index (HWI) and Type Weighted Index (TWI)
Download your copy of the National Breeding Objective Review Final Short Report below so that you can follow the journey of the review and find out more about Australia's new breeding indices.
A snapshot of Australia's longest farm walk:


Economic Values for Australia's three indices

Australia's National Breeding Objective has focused on profit for many years but the balance between generating increased returns from more production and lowering the cost of production has shifted over time. Feedback from Australia's Longest Farmwalk confirms that profit is still the dominant focus and direction for breeding cows in Australia.
To analyse the profit from each unit of genetic improvement, the NBO research team developed a bio-economic model from which the economic values of each trait are generated. The model repeatedly answers the same question 'all things being equal, how much additional profit will this herd generate by increasing one unit of a particular trait?'. Clearly, a good understanding of the economics, management practices and biology of the cow are all required for this model. The model used information collected from farmers, a range of industry, government and herd recording sources, scientific literature, milk processors as well as professionals working in the areas of statistics, genetics, nutrition, fertility, mastitis, stock sales and farm performance analysis.
Table 1 outlines the economic values for each of Australia's new indices. Type ABVs weights are applied after standardisation.

economic values for new indices

Farmer Perspectives

Mathew Radford looks forward to using the Type Weighted Index
Jared Ireland says ABVs and three indices essential tools
Jo & Bryan Dickson find BPI the perfect tool
High priority on health with James Neal
Tim Humphris keenly anticipates the Health Weighted Index
New indices give Jersey breeders more choice
BPI wins the day for Patrick Glass
BPI hits the mark for Carenda Holsteins