In Germany, 16 local organizations are now involved in Holstein and Red Holstein as well as Fleckvieh and Brown Swiss breeding. GGI-SPERMEX GmbH is responsible for the international marketing of 13 organizations.

Powerful organizations

Over the last few years, most of the herd book and A. I. organizations combined their sections to combine herd book work, breeding programs, artificial insemination, and marketing under the umbrella of larger organizations. Moreover, GGI-SPERMEX members have built two powerful, inter-regional co-operations: TopQ and NOG (Nord-Ost Genetic GmbH & Co KG). To improve efficiency, the cooperating partners run large testing programs together. Furthermore, the partners work closely together in the fields of research, product development and scientific analysis of breeding programs, and through co-operation with the Association for Bioeconomy Research (FBF).

German Livestock Association (BRS) acts as coordinator

The German Livestock Association (BRS) is the umbrella organization for organized German Holstein breeding. The main tasks of BRS are to harmonize the working methods of member organizations, determination of the breeding goal, organizing national shows and auctions, public relations as well as representing the interests of German Holstein breeding abroad. The BRS is also the first point of contact for data exchange with foreign herd books. An important task of the BRS is the collection of conformation data for breeding value estimation. For this, BRS works out the guidelines, trains classifiers in its member organizations and monitors data acquisition.


With umbrella organizations for the particular cattle breeds and the German Association for quality and performance testing (DLQ), cattle breeding organizations, A.I. studs, embryo transfer facilities, the state control associations and milk recording and milk survey organizations, as well as the data center in Verden are all affiliated with BRS – so the entire organized cattle breeding in Germany. With almost 12.3 million cattle on 143,000 farms, Germany is one of the largest producers of milk and beef in the European Union. The activities of BRS drive the advancement of all efforts focused on the improvement of breeding, housing, insemination and embryo transfer of cattle as well as the utilization of their products. Thus, to a great extent, German cattle breeding is geared to improve the traits of robustness, health and fertility of animals.

Independent milk recording

The 11 German state control associations for milk recording work independently of the breeding and insemination organizations and, because of that, offer the best opportunities for objective data collection. Data is collected monthly using a fixed uniform standard of milk recording from more than 90 % of all German cows. The level of milk recording in Germany, is higher than in any other country in the world. Comprehensive quality management systems help this national milk recording to have a world leading special position.

The independent milk recording organizations guarantee reliable data collection.

Photo: Peter Hensch
Photo: Peter Hensch

Central breeding value estimation under state control

Breeding value estimation in Germany is under state control. Under orders from the breeding organizations, the data centre, Vereinigte Informationssysteme Tierhaltung w.V. (VIT) carries out the nationwide breeding value estimation for the breeds Holstein, Red Holstein, Red Cattle/Angler, Jersey, Red & White dual purpose (DN) and German Friesian Cattle (DSN). The Bavarian Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft (LfL) carries out the breeding value estimation for Fleckvieh and Brown Swiss. All data is centrally collated here. In addition, VIT and LfL provide the best data connection and “online networking” of all cattle breeding organizations.