Fertility1 is a genetic variation which is one of the causes of dairy cows being empty through the loss of their calf in pregnancy.
NZAEL manages the National Breeding Objective for New Zealand dairy cattle and its manager, Dr Jeremy Bryant, says identification of the genetic variants is possible through ongoing investment in genomic technologies by breeding companies.
“Accurate animal recording of fertility events and correct parentage identification make it possible to identify these variants and minimise their impact of cow fertility and calf survival,” says Jeremy.
NZAEL supports LIC’s approach to make the test widely available to screen bulls and prevent mating of carrier animals.
“The use of the DNA screening test, matched with use of tools such as DataMate and SireMatch, is the right approach,” says Jeremy.
Continued improvement of genetic merit in the national dairy herd remains a critical element of the dairy industry.
“Farmers should welcome the identification of these genetic variants by LIC, so that their impact on traits such as fertility and calf survival can be minimised in the future,” says Jeremy.
DairyNZ advises that management practices such as correct heat identification and achieving body condition score targets at calving should still be a firm focus of farmers to improve dairy cow fertility.
The NZAEL website provides carrier status for a range of genetic variants such as BLAD (bovine leukocyte adhesion deficiency) and Small Calf Syndrome. Bull carrier status for Fertility1 will also be added as this information becomes available.
Marketing Manager: Productivity
Tel: 0274 663 115