EBI Base Change September 2016
The Economic Breeding Index (EBI) was launched in November 2000 by ICBF in a bid to provide farmers with a single figure profit index, aimed at identifying the most profitable bulls and cows for breeding dairy herd replacements. Since its inception, the EBI has undergone several changes and in September 2016, it will undergo a base change in order to reflect modern cows and production.
ICBF’s Francis Kearney explains, “Currently, the EBI uses a separate base for production and fertility traits. The production base is 1995 born cows, milk recorded in 2000. The fertility base is sires born between 1988 and 1992, with 90% reliability.
The new base for production and fertility will be 2005 born cows, calved and milk recorded in 2007, with at least two years out of five milk recorded.”
The Irish Farmers’ Journal’s Aidan Brennan says, “Because genetics have improved in the interim, animals are now being compared against better animals, so the expected performance difference has decreased, hence their EBIs are lower. The ranking of cows and bulls is the same – so the best bulls will still be the best bulls. The bulls that will fluctuate most are those that are going from a mostly parental average or genomic index to a daughter-proven index with greater reliability.”
This updating of the base cow by ten years will result in a reduction in current EBI rankings of €71 for every dairy animal. However, because the change will be implemented during an annual genetic evaluation which will add data on animals, the exact change in an animal’s EBI will also depend on the new data added.