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NZ Base Cow

Across All Breed Evaluation

New Zealand Animal Evaluation (NZAEL) and LIC rank New Zealand dairy animals across all breeds.

Because many LIC customers around the world select genetics from multiple breeds for optimal herd performance, it is important to understand how an animal should perform within the whole herd, not just within one breed of the herd.

New Zealand Base Cow

The New Zealand Base Cow is the genetic reference point used to determine Breeding Worth (BW) and Breeding Values (BV) for all New Zealand dairy cattle.

All of the NZAEL and LIC bull information is recorded relative to the 2005 Base Cow – the average of 21,585 cows across all breeds born in the year 2005 – whose production and TOP (traits other than production) data has been set to zero. Each cow has been TOP inspected and herd tested at least four times to deliver an accurate result.


The Base Cow production is calculated at an expected response when fed 5 tonnes of dry matter. This is because the average New Zealand cow will consume 5 tonnes of dry matter in one lactation when fed on a pasture only diet. If grain or additional supplements are fed on top of the pasture diet you would expect a much higher genetic response.


Because Breeding Values (BV) are calculated across breed you would expect a Holstein-Friesian to have a much higher (positive) BV for milk and you would expect Jerseys to have a lower (negative) BV.

NZ Base Cow Production Information

Fat Protein Milk Liveweight
218kg 174kg 4595 500kg