Select Mating Service (SMS)


Managing Inbreeding

Percent Inbreeding Calculation
One generation between parents 50 percent
Two generations between parents 25 percent
Three generations between parents 12.5 percent
Four generations between parents 6.25 percent
Five generations between parents 3.125 percent
Six generations between parents 1.56 percent
Seven generations between parents .78 percent

There is no doubt about it, inbreeding reduces the productivity and profitability of a herd. Inbreeding is a major concern of the genetics department at Select Sires. Consistently their recommendation is to use SMS to manage this important drain from your profitability. SMS allows in-depth pedigree information to be incorporated into the SMS program to help manage inbreeding levels and prevent the losses they cause. The value of accurate parentage identification will continue to grow due to the escalating inbreeding levels of today.

To demonstrate the importance of managing inbreeding the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding calculates the average each year, click here to see current trends. One can easily see since the genomic era began inbreeding is increasing at a faster rate. The SMS program can provide an accurate analysis of your herd and take this information to assist in sire selection.

Select Mating Service (SMS), Select Sires� dairy cattle mating program, controls inbreeding depression by using parentage records and genomic testing to reduce matings of related individuals.

"Overall the herd is a lot nicer with better feet and legs and udders. It saves a lot of time and I'm confident in my genetic consultant's recommendations − he sees a lot of cows. The greatest benefit is not worrying about inbreeding. We used to use three or four different suppliers which cost me time. Select Sires has good bulls and a good reputation so I'm comfortable relying on them for genetics. "

-Kevin Eisenga, Sunshine Acres, Marion, Mich., 320 cows

Estimated future inbreeding coefficients:

Select Mating Service (SMS), Select Sires� dairy cattle mating program, controls inbreeding depression by using parentage records and genomic testing to reduce matings of related individuals.

When you have used great sires that have a positive influence on the Holstein breed, you want to also use their great sons and grandsons. SMS identifies the cows that can be bred to those sires, providing you the comfort of knowing inbreeding levels are managed and genetic return is maximized.

For each one percent inbreeding increase, a herd experiences:(1)

  • -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

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.(2)

(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.