Australia's Two Breeding Indices

The Two Breeding Indices

Most dairy farmers want to breed to improve more than one trait at once. Breeding Indices take the hard work out of breeding for multiple traits by combining them in a single value. They are based on rigorous scientific analysis and industry priorities.

Australia’s two breeding indices – Balanced Performance Index (BPI) and Health Weighted Index (HWI) – account for the traits that affect a cow’s lifetime contribution to the dairy business: production, health and fertility, longevity, workability, type and feed efficiency. They differ in the amount of emphasis given to specific traits.

Dairy cows and bulls can receive a BPI and HWI, if sufficient data is available in DataGene’s genetic evaluation system.




Balanced Performance Index

The Balanced Performance Index (BPI) is an economic index that drives improvements in the traits that affect lifetime contribution to the farm business:  production, type, health, fertility, longevity, workability, feed efficiency and type. The BPI is measured in $, compared with the breed average (or ‘base’)  which is set at zero.



Health Weighted Index

The Health Weighted Index allows farmers to fast track genetic gain for traits such as fertility, mastitis resistance and feed saved. The HWI places greater weighting on these traits than the BPI. Breeding for HWI is expected to reduce cow size and show little improvement in production. This is because it places less emphasis on milk yield per cow. The HWI is modelled on a strictly seasonal calving system.














More Information