The DIGAD Project
The key outcome of this project will be to transition the operation and maintenance of NZ’s dairy cattle animal evaluation system from LIC’s Animal Evaluation Unit to NZAEL, a wholly owned subsidiary of DairyNZ.
Background of DIGAD
In 2008, DairyNZ established a committee headed by Professor Robert Anderson, to undertake a comprehensive review of the New Zealand dairy industry’s animal database.
The Committee sought and considered submissions from a range of organisations and individuals, and released a range of recommendations in a report titled the “New Zealand Dairy Herd Improvement Database Review”.
Two recommendations in this report were to transfer the Core Database and the animal evaluation function from LIC to an industry good body.
In August 2013, DairyNZ and LIC signed a formal agreement setting out the terms of the transfer of the Core Database and the licensing of the Animal Evaluation Intellectual Property to enable DairyNZ to operate and develop the New Zealand Animal Evaluation system.
On-farm benefits to flow from dairy database project
Achieving ongoing genetic gain has been a cornerstone of the New Zealand dairy farmers’ competitiveness. It has been estimated that genetic improvement of dairy cattle contributes $300 million in profit to the economy per annum. The DIGAD (Dairy Industry Good Animal Database) project is designed to help lift that contribution even further.
The DIGAD work is one of the most substantial database projects undertaken since herd records were first computerised in the mid-1980s and was initiated following recommendations in the Anderson Report in 2008, which provided a review of the New Zealand herd improvement industry. This project involves a number of phases;
- Phase 1: Build the database (DIGAD)
- Phase 2: Transitioning the Operation of the Animal Evaluation Models (AE Transition)
- Phase 3 and 4: Develop systems which facilitate certified herd testing providers submitting data directly to DIGAD. Design and implement a solution for Breed societies.
This project has already allowed us to identify a better method of processing fertility and body condition score data, which increases the accuracy of the corresponding breeding values. These benefits were realised in early 2016.
Project timeline: Use the arrows below to view a timeline of events for this project
Industry collaboration is playing a big part in ensuring the transition will be seamless from a dairy farmer’s perspective given the complexity of the data and systems involved.
It is currently anticipated that phase two will be complete late this year.
Accessing data in DIGAD
Access to data held in the Dairy Industry Good Animal Database can be formally requested through DairyNZ
Supplying data to DIGAD
Data standards are put in place to help maintain and enhance the quality of animal data entering the dairy industry good animal database (DIGAD). This data is used for research and animal evaluation purposes.