Define the objective of selection is the main step in the designing an animal breeding program for the exploitation and enhancement of genetic resources in any livestock enterprise. Breeding objectives involve consideration of multiple traits appling selection index theory. In the optimal selection index, the relative importance of a trait is scaled by its economic value (EV). The EV for each trait is the observed marginal rate of change in profit caused by one unit change of the trait while holding all other genetic traits constant. The EV are derived from a farm profit model that describes the whole productive system and considers future economic market conditions because of the delay in the expression of selected genes. The traits included in the breeding objective have to be economically important, heritable, and have an adequate genetic variance. Phenotypic and genetic parameter estimations are needed for all traits. Several steps involve in designing optimum breeding program and each step is linked with other steps. Simulation work should consider these relationships to find optimum values of variables considered in the breeding program under given economic and environmental circumstances. The objectives of this research project are: - to define a breeding objective that maximizes the Estonia dairy industry efficiency; - to estimate genetic parameters and economic values of traits in the breeding objective; - to evaluate the economic benefit and return of the investment of the breeding program for dairy industry; - to evaluate genetic progress in relation to milk quality and yield traits as a correlated response to selection for the Estonian breeding objective. Information about dairy cattle pedigree, productivity and economic data of enterprises will be obtained from the Estonian Animal Recording Centre, from the Animal Breeders’ Association of Estonia, from commercial dairy robot-farms and from the database Bio-Competence Centre of Healthy Dairy Products COAGEN®.
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