The International Dairy Cattle Registry has a contract to utilize the services of Neogen’s animal genomic businesses, Geneseek and Igenity as the primary provider for DNA genomic testing and blood typing. The International Dairy Cattle Registry will also accept test results that have been conducted at other laboratories that have been approved and results accepted by other Registries, Associations and Organizations involved in the Dairy Industry.
GeneSeek considered a world’s leading commercial agricultural genetic service laboratory provides DNA genotyping for identity and trait analysis. Since it’s founding in 2003 Igenity has developed systems to identify an animal’s positive or negative traits based on DNA test results. This information provided to the livestock producer and the industry has helped to make significant improvements in genetics and improve overall quality.
The Dawn of a New Era
Very few new technologies have been introduced to the dairy industry that has had the impact that genomic testing has had since is first became commercially available in 2009.
Genomic testing offers information to dairy farmers that can potentially aid in identification of superior animals, providing more insight into their herds to make better informed breeding and culling decisions.
Genetic merit of a cow using pedigree data and parent averages from the USDA only has 30% accuracy and is impossible to predict how good a cow is until she is older and has been in milk production. Even more, it is unknown which genes she may have inherited from her sire and dam. With genomic testing the accuracy of the same animals genetic merit can increase to 70% accuracy and genomic testing can also use specific markers to identify a range of traits that the animal can possess.
With the high cost of feed and raising replacements, many dairies routinely utilize genomic testing as a tool for targeting resources where they can have the most impact on the bottom line profit. Identifying which animals have the best genetic merits can help focus a breeding program when purchasing semen or deciding which cows and heifers merit investment in reproductive technologies such as embryo transfer or breeding high quality replacements.
Genomic evaluations for bulls had been the highest percentage of animals being genomic tested. Today that has changed and over 80% of animals being genomic tested are female. This change has come about due to newer and lower cost tests being brought to market.
Genetic testing provides evaluations to predict the future performance of an individual female. Genetic testing of bulls provides evaluations to predict the future performance of their daughters.
Genomic evaluations are rapidly replacing traditional evaluation systems used for dairy cattle selection. Higher reliabilities from larger genotype files promote cooperation across country borders. Today, selection in many countries uses genotypes in addition to phenotypes and pedigrees. Genomic information can be exchanged across countries using simple conversion equations.
Dairy consignment sales increasingly expect genomic evaluations on animals that are consigned. Breeders who sell bulls to individuals can price bulls accordingly when they have genomic test information on those bulls. Bull buyers utilizing the genomic test can use the information as a tool to aid in making the selection of a bull that can work in their herd and environment.
Another benefit of genomic testing is once superior animals are discovered, then marketing opportunities selling their genetics either thru semen sales on bulls or embryo’s on females, can add additional income to an operations bottom line profits.
We are on the threshold of opportunities genomic technology can offer to dairy cattle breeding where the potential of genomic evaluations is enormous. The technology, which genomic predictions are based on will continue to improve. Dairy producers must keep an open mind to the possibilities and opportunities that genomic testing can provide.
Please select your breed below to see which test genomic test options are available.
- Milking Fleckvieh
- Norwegian Red
- Red Dane
- Swedish Red & White
- North American Red
- Other Dairy Crossbreds