Monday, 19 January 2015

Female animals will contribute more in future


The breeding programme in VikingGenetics has lately gone through massive changes. The higher reliability from selection of young sires with genomic selection has given possibilities that didn’t exist earlier. Now we are ready to take the next big step!

The successful inclusion of females animals in the reference groups – first for red and Jersey and then for Holstein – means that in the breeding work we can move the resources from sires to females. In VG we have maintained a relatively large program for entering of bulls to the bull stations since they will make out the reference population for future generations. With the females in the reference population we now need less bulls per year.

Jørn Rind Thomasen, R&D Consultant at Aarhus University and VikingGenetics, has made calculations showing that larger progress can be obtained and at the same time decrease inbreeding by reducing the number of bulls entering the bull station per year. A precondition is however that more calves by the best females are born – that is a need to include all reproduction techniques incl. flushings as we know today. Such calculations oblige VikingGenetics and the reaction to this will not be left out. As you can see from table 1 we buy a smaller number of calves and the number of flushings will be increased already from next year.

Writing this there are still many details in the breeding scheme that have not yet been determined. Elements like young sire testing and use of bulls for high-index females should be taken into consideration for the future strategy. It is certain that these new, interesting improvements to the breeding scheme also can be registered in your breeding scheme in your herd where the overall objective always is to optimize the genetic progress.

Table 1. Current breeeding scheme and 2015 breeding scheme for Holstein in VikingGenetics


 
2014



2015



Number of genomically tested bull calves



3,000



3,000



Flush contracts



200



400



Purchased bulls



230



150



Bulls in semen production



180



100







The successful inclusion of females in the reference population means that we can move the resources from sires to females in the breeding work.

We can obtain higher genetics progress and at the same time lower inbreeding by entering fewer bulls per year. A precondition is that more calves by the best females, e.g. ET, are born.

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