Feed intake genetic evaluation: progress and an index for saved feed cost


  • Gerben de Jong
  • Yvette de Haas
  • Roel Veerkamp
  • Ghyslaine Schopen
  • Jorien Bouwmeester-Vosman
  • Rene van der Linde


Improving feed efficiency in dairy cows gets worldwide more and more interest. Feed is the main part in the variable cost of producing milk. At the same time reduction of feed intake results in a reduction of the production of greenhouse gases and therefore has a positive effect on the environment. In the Netherlands and Flanders a genetic evaluation for dry matter intake was developed and currently includes observations on 5600 cows. To facilitate the selection for efficient cows, the Saved Feed Cost for Maintenance index (FSCM) was developed, which is also part of the total merit index NVI. The genetic trend of dry matter intake shows an increase of dry matter intake per day. FSCM has a negative trend, related to an increase of body size over the years. Measuring dry matter intake and adding FSCM to the breeding goal, results in a more efficient cow.