Ecological total merit index for an Austrian dual purpose cattle breed
Abstract. Organic farming plays a considerable role in Austrian agriculture. Therefore it seems to be worthwhile to make suggestions about a more ecological breeding goal for cattle breeds. Because of the fact that Simmental is the most frequent dual purpose cattle breed in Austria, this breed is chosen to show the impact of selection under an ecological total merit index. With model calculations the effect on selection response in milk production beef production and functional traits under selection with the current economic total merit index and more ecological index variants, e.g. with higher economic values for fitness and functional traits, is shown. As a basis for future decisions the efficiency of more or less ecological indices is compared. The results indicate that an increase of the current economic values of functional traits of about 50 percent does not present a great risk, expected selection responses for milk production traits are still high.