Predict your herd’s future with genomics
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Predict your herd’s future with genomics

May 28, 2015
POSTED BY: Dave Erf | Geneticist | U.S. Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

Genomic testing is changing the way dairy producers make management, selection and breeding decisions on their dairies every day. Revolutionary technology allows producers to develop their herd genetics faster than ever before, creating opportunities for commercial dairies to have greater control of their future milking herd and profitability. If you’re not using genomic testing to make breeding decisions on your dairy, here are some of the excellent advantages you should consider.

  • Reliability: The reliability of genomic values is higher than with traditional Parent Average (PA) or having no information at all. Raising the reliability of younger animals can increase the accuracy, giving producers more confidence in their ability to make better herd management decisions.
  • Better culling decisions: You’ll be able to more confidently cull the bottom 10% to 25% of your herd or potentially use the bottom portion of the herd as recipients. If your operation has excess inventory, genomic testing can help you avoid the expensive costs of raising potentially underperforming animals.
  • Less misidentification: Data shows that parent misidentification can be in excess of 15% on commercial dairies.1 By having your parentage verified and often times corrected — regardless of whether the animal’s sire and dam were originally known — you’ll be able to better manage inbreeding and avoid genetic recessives.
  • Confidence in breeding decisions: With the trusted, reliable results that genomic testing provides, you’ll be better able to confidently identify and manage heifers with high genetic potential. This allows you to choose who you would like to get more heifers out of by either using sexed semen and/or making them embryo donors. Conversely, it also allows you to know who you prefer not to get a heifer out of, if you have enough from other animals in your herd. All of these options lead to more profits later.

Consider putting genomics to work on your dairy. Genomic tests such as CLARIFIDE® will provide reliable predictions to more accurately predict genetic merit with a comprehensive suite of core production, type and health traits, key production indexes and identifying genetic conditions or traits.

It’s easy to advance the genetics in your herd. To implement genomic testing on your dairy, contact your Zoetis representative and work with your herd’s genetic management team.

1 Zoetis data on file. Results from analysis of cumulative 3K and 6K results reported from USDA-CDCB dairy genetic evaluation as of September 2012 and associated submission data.

CLR-00055

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