CRV’s Better Life Indexes Prove Effective

Jamie Johansen

crv usaCRV USA’s Better Life indexes, which were first introduced in 2013, are proving to be highly effective in improving the technical results of herds.

According to CRV, by incorporating Better Life Health genetics into a breeding program, producers will have healthier, longer living cows that require fewer veterinarian visits and treatments. In Better Life Efficiency, cows will produce more with less feed and will better utilize natural resources.

Each CRV bull is scored for these two indices, and large-scale analysis of more than 61,000 animals from 300 herds has revealed irrefutable proof that CRV’s Better Life genetics help cows stay healthy and more efficient as they age.

“This analysis proves that dairy producers can choose and trust in the CRV Better Life traits to breed healthier herds that require less attention and treatment,” said Amy VanderMark, Managing Director of CRV USA Operations. “Less attention and treatment, combined with reduced feed costs and lower cost per pound of milk, means better economics and a healthier bottom line for our customers.”

The effect of Better Life Efficiency is huge. For instance, for lifetime production, each Better Life Efficiency improvement of one-percent results in additional lifetime production of 3,300 pounds. Below is a comparison of the 25-percent highest and lowest scoring animals that illustrate practical applications of Better Life Efficiency.
– 28,850 pounds higher lifetime production (based on more than 22,000 culled animals)
– 4,500 pounds higher milk production (305 days)
– 16% higher than herd average
– 325 pounds extra fat and protein (305 days)

In addition to these figures, the 25-percent highest scoring animals showed a marginally longer calving interval (+15 days)—attributed to higher milk production and allowing farmers to start insemination slightly later.

The benefits of these indexes can also be applied to health and fertility. Additional comparisons
of the 25-percent highest and lowest scoring animals for Better Life Health are below.
– 39% lower incidence of sub-clinical mastitis (on average in first three lactations)
– 23% fewer claw disorders (on average in first three lactations)
– 55% fewer stillborn calves at their first calving
– 57% lower incidence of ketosis (on average in first three lactations)
– 26-day shorter calving interval