The main selection index for the Italian Holstein Fresian breed developed by ANAFIBJ is called PFT, which stands for Production, Functionality and Type. The PFT index combines these three elements based on the selection goals set by the Association for the genetic improvement of the Italian population.

PFT timeline

  • The index was created in 1983 under the name of ILQ, Milk Quality Index, and was calculated based only on the milk production: these were the years of the Italian economic boom and it was necessary to meet the continuous demands of the food market.

  • Ten years later, in 1993, ANAFIBJ changed the ILQ, adding the conformation (20% of the total index). The acronym became ILQM: Milk Quality and Conformation Index. A necessary change to improve the conformation of the udder which, at the time, were becoming too deep and very difficult to manage.

  • In 2002, a part of the index was reserved for the cow’s functional traits. The ILQ changed its name to PFT, as we know it today.

Today, the PFT index is periodically updated, based on the needs of the Italian Holstein selection. However, there are some main aims which are essential in order to obtain animals that better adapt to the Italian dairy industry:

  • Improve fertility genetic progress;
  • Improve mammary health and reduce somatic cells;
  • Maintain the peculiarities of the selection in the Italian Holstein Fresian;
  • Protect past and present selective choices

The last update of the PFT dates back to December 2019. Nowadays, the PFT composition composed by:

The selection rank

The official ranking of animals is based on the PFT index. It refers to the position in the ranking of a specific animal (bull or cow) out of the total indexed population, divided by males and females.

The ranking range goes from 1 to 99, dividing the population in percentiles. There is no n°100 because it represents the perfect animal. Thanks to this ranking, it is possible to define an official limit that allows to establish which animals can be admitted to the artificial insemination. In the case of Italian Holstein Fresian breed the limit is represented by rank 98: the top 2% of the bulls on the list.

However, looking at the bull sheet it can be noticed that not all the bulls in A.I. rank 98 or 99. As a matter of fact, older bulls are genetically overcame by new generations and their ranking will automatically decrease: this is the effect of selection!

The PFT index is expressed in “points“. In order to have an indication for the comparison of bulls, here the are the the top scores of bulls divided by Genomic Bulls and Proven Bulls (datas of December 2022):

RankGenomic BullsProven Bulls
1° bull+4888 points+4326 points
2° bull+4838 points+4324 points
3° bull+4803 points+4262 points
Range Top 10from +4652 to +4888 pointsfrom +4244 to +4326 points
Range Top 50from +4416 to +4888 pointsfrom +3811 to +4326 points
Range Top 100from +4213 to +4888 pointsfrom +3638 to +4326 points