Linear classification of the first-calf cows by the exterior and its connection with dairy productivity

  • G. D. Ilyashenko Kirovograd State Agricultural Experimental Station of NAAS (Sozonivka, Ukraine)
Keywords: herd, linear estimation, body structure, milk productivity, exterior type, development, force of influence


In breeding work with cattle, the assessment and selection of animals by external forms and proportions of the structure of the body take the prominent place. This is due to the established in practical selection and many studies links between the features of the exteriors of animals and their economically valuable indicators, strength, technological capacity and the duration of productive use.

The aim of the research was to study the connection between the exteriors of Ukrainian red and black-and-white dairy breeds with their milk productivity in the conditions of the Central region of Ukraine.

The researches were carried out on the first-calf cows of the Ukrainian red dairy breed (URD, n = 82) and the Ukrainian Black-and-White dairy breed (UBWD, n = 39) which calved during 2011–2016 at the experimental farm "Elitnoe" of Kirovograd State Agricultural Experimental Station of the NAAS.

The estimation of the exterior type was carried out with the linear classification method according to the latest ICAR recommendations at the age of 2–4 months after calving, with a linear description of 18 articles of exterior and a 100-point system of classification, taking into account four complexes of breeding indicators that characterize the severity of the dairy type, body development, condition of limbs and morphological qualities of udder. The single-factor, variance analysis determined the level of influence of the genetic factor of origin by the father on the exterior indicators of the first-calf cows. The calculation of the economic efficiency of breeding of animals was carried out by calculating the value of extra milk (E) according to the formula proposed by N. V. Ponomarenko. The calculations were made by the methods of mathematical statistics using the software package "STATISTICA-6.1".

A comparative analysis of descriptive articles of the exterior of cows in the studied groups for the majority of signs did not establish a significant difference. However, according to one of the signs that reflected the dairy character of the type of dairy animals, was an angularity, the assessment for which was 6,9 points, and it indicated a better expressed dairy type in animals of Ukrainian Red dairy breed compared to the coevals of Ukrainian Black-and-White dairy breed whose assessment was 5.8 points.

The indicators of the complexes of signs of the exterior over the years of evaluation have shown that the first-calf cows of the Ukrainian Red dairy, which calved in 2011, gave way on 2.2 points (td = 1.55) to the dairy type of coevals, which calved in 2016, at the development of the body on 3 points (td = 2,13, P < 0,05), at the condition of the limbs on 1,8 points (td = 0,80), at the morphological signs of the udder on 2,0 points (td = 0,97). According to the Ukrainian Black-and-White dairy, the corresponding difference was 2.9 points (td = 2.57), 2 points (td = 1.05), 1.3 points (td = 1.88), and 1.7 points (td = 1.64). Consequently, during the analyzed period, the exterior of the first-calf cows has undergone changes in the direction of improvement in both researched herds. The general assessment of the structure of the body of cows of Ukrainian red dairy breed was 82.0 points in 2016 (compared with 79.8 in 2011), of Ukrainian Black-and-White dairy breed was 82.6 points versus 80.8 points, respectively.

According to the results of the researches, it was found that there was a reliable positive relationship between the level of milk yield for the first and third lactations and the level of the estimation indicators according to the 100-point system. An increase in the evaluation for better development of the indicators that characterize the body structure and the quality of udder leads to an increase in the milk yield of cows in both the first and in full-grown lactations.

To study the influence of the estimation on the exterior type on milk productivity it was conducted the gradation of the controlled livestock for classes according to the international classification scale. The results of the gradation persuasively indicate that the level of milk productivity of the cows of the studied breeds is identical with the quantity of the points obtained for the exterior type. Simultaneously, the milk yield of high-quality animals of the Ukrainian Red dairy exceeds the same with a low rating at 2,298 kg, than the Ukrainian Black-and-White dairy at 2311 kg. In the average selling prices in the Kirovograd region in 2017 (678.29 UAH per a cwt, without VAT), the cost of additional milk received per one Ukrainian Red dairy breed cow will currently be 11690.3 UAH, of Ukrainian Black-and-White dairy breed 10850.9 UAH.


1. Application of the method of linear classification allowed to determine objectively the peculiarities and variability of exterior indicators of cows. The revealed character of the inheritance from 12% to 37% proves the possibility of conducting breeding in indicated direction and the effective use of progeny-tested bulls-improvers by the indicators of exterior.

2. Practical use in farms of the method of linear classification of first-calf cows on the exterior provides an economic effect from 10850,9 to 11690,3 UAH per one head.



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How to Cite
Ilyashenko, G. D. (2018). Linear classification of the first-calf cows by the exterior and its connection with dairy productivity. Animal Breeding and Genetics, 55, 70-75.
Breeding and Selection