Cost of Inbreeding

Inbreeding occurs when related animals are mated, leading to:

Decreased cow health and vigor Lower embryonic survival rates
Lower lactation production Decreased calf vigor, increased calf morbidity and mortality
Reduced reproductive performance Increased risk of recessive genetic disorders

Inbreeding measurements

Inbreeding coefficients describe how closely related an animal is to the average breed population and are expressed in percentages based on the pedigree of an individual animal.

Expected Future Inbreeding represents an estimation of how related each animal will be in the future population.

Both estimates below are based on pedigree data.

Estimated future inbreeding coefficients:

SelectaGEN inbreeding dairy program cost

Costs of inbreeding add up quickly.

The cost of each additional day a dairy cow is open, beyond the herd’s voluntary waiting period, can range from $3.19 to $5.41 per cow per year.(1)

For each one percent inbreeding increase, a herd experiences:(2)

  • -24 Lifetime NM$
  • +.36 days age at first calving
  • -13 days Productive Life
  • -790 lbs lifetime milk production
  • -25 lbs lifetime protein production
  • +.26 month first calving interval

(1) Cassell, B.G. Effect of inbreeding on cow performance and mate selection in dairy cows; Proceedings of the Western Dairy Management Conference; 1999.

(2) De Vries, A; Determinants of the cost of days open in dairy cattle; Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics; 2006.