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Open access

Birgit Fuerst-Waltl, Birgit Lang and Christian Fuerst

Summary

When defining a total merit index, all economically important traits, both performance and functional traits shall be considered. Aside from breeding values, their reliabilities and all genetic relationships, the knowledge of the economic importance of all traits involved is required. In this study, economic values were derived for the most numerous dairy goat breed in Austria, the Saanen goat. Calculated marginal utilities are expressed per average ewe place and year. The calculations were based on a herd model including dairy production, rearing and fattening of goat kids. Economic values are calculated by multiplying the marginal utilities with the genetic standard deviations of the traits. The economic value is thus defined by the value of one unit of genetic superiority of a trait. In order to derive the economic value of one trait, a single parameter in the model was varied while keeping all other traits constant. The relative economic values (in %) for the trait complexes were as follows: dairy : functional : meat traits = 74 : 25 : 1, respectively. Within the dairy complex, milk carrier yield was the most important trait, while in the functional traits fertility, defined as conception rate, had the highest economic weight.