Fro Farm - Project Introduction
High quality cattle are at the heart of profitable dairy farming. This requires good quality genetics, as without this (however good your management) there is a ceiling to your herd’s performance and profitability. This isn’t just about genetics for milk production; it’s also about health, welfare, management and type traits, each one of which can make an important contribution to profitability, and all can be improved through breeding. Additionally, the use of genomics within breeding decisions has the potential to increase genetic gains and aid with sire selection.
Genomics is a technology that can use DNA information to predict the performance potential of an individual cow. Genomic selection also enables farmers to select animals for the next generation of replacements within the herd rather than relying on phenotypic (observable features of the animal) assessment. This allows for the earlier identification of the elite animals within the herd and those which are the poorest breeding animals. Appropriate use of genomics within herd management ultimately can lead to an increase in productivity, health and welfare, shortening the generation interval and increasing genetic improvement.
This project aims to compare the benefits of genomic testing against parental average data and phonotypic data to aid breeding decisions and employ genetic selection. Therefore, increasing the genetic improvement of animals within the herds. Producing offspring from the top performing heifers and selecting breeding pairs that will produce offspring with the desired traits will help achieve the breeding target for Fro Farm.