Health breeding index ticks the boxes

Aug 18, 2015

 

Jason and Casey Bermingham’s breeding goal has always been fairly consistent: to breed cows that will have long, productive lives in their herd. However over the past 10 years their selection priorities have evolved as their herd develops.

The couple dairies near Maffra in East Gippsland, milking 240 cows under a pasture based system. Sixty per cent of the herd calves in spring and the rest in autumn, averaging nearly 8,000L per cow.

A recent Genetic Progress Report on the herd helped Mr Bermingham refine his breeding priorities.

“Our report confirmed we’d made good genetic progress for production and type traits but it also highlighted the opportunity to improve on health traits such as fertility and cell count. We had already started paying more attention to fertility but the report really brought the message home,” Mr Bermingham said.

When the three new breeding indices became available with the April ABV release Mr Bermingham discovered that the Health Weighted Index (HWI) wa

“I know that all the bulls on the HWI list will improve overall production, with extra emphasis on fertility, cell count and feed saved and this matches what we want to achieve in our herd,” he said.s a good reflection of his breeding priorities.

Mr Bermingham is looking forward to being able to track the impact of his breeding decisions through future Genetic Progress Reports.

“It will be really interesting to see how our herd’s genetic merit for fertility and cell count change over time in response to selecting sires on the basis of HWI,” he said.

Mr Bermingham has welcomed the introduction of three breeding indices.

“Having three indices obviously gives dairy farmers more choice – to identify sires that more closely match their individual breeding priorities. But it has also sparked a lot more interest and discussion about breeding priorities. It has really encouraged people to stop and think about what traits are important for their herd and what direction they want to take their herd through breeding.”


For more information contact Michelle Axford, ADHIS Extension and Education Manager, ph 0427 573 330 email maxford@adhis.com.au or www.adhis.com.au , alternatively take a look at the Good Bulls Guide.

 

Genetic progress reports now available

Jul 22, 2015

Farmers and their advisors have been eagerly awaiting the release of the latest Genetic Progress Reports which now include trends for the Balanced Performance Index (BPI).

This handy tool enables dairy farmers to track the impact of breeding decisions and changes in their herd’s genetic merit over time.

Developed by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS), the Genetic Progress Report also allows dairy farmers to compare their herd’s genetic merit with the average and top 10% of their breed in the country.

The report includes a summary of 10-year trends, including traits that have improved, remained stable and reduced in the herd. It also includes indicators of the herd’s genetic merit for profitability and its rank out of all Australian herd recorded herds for the breed.

Seven graphs track changes in the herd’s genetic changes since 2004 for profit, type, longevity, mastitis resistance, fertility, protein and fat. Further graphs for Health Weighted Index (HWI) and Type Weighted Index (TWI) are expected in August 2015.

Micelle Axford, ADHIS extension manager, said farmers were using the report to identify breeding areas that have performed well and those they wish to improve.

Once they have identified the traits they want to improve through breeding, The Good Bulls Guide can be used to identify suitable sires.

“The report is generated from herd test data, so it is available to any farmers who herd record. There’s no need to supply extra information. Just request a Genetic Progress Report from your herd test centre or view it on your tablet using Mistro Web,” Ms Axford said. 

 For more information contact Michelle Axford 0427 573 330 maxford@adhis.com.au.

 

 

An example BPI graph now available in the new Genetic Progress Reports. 

Taking Dairy Bioscience to Canberra

Jun 12, 2015

Dairy bioscience took its place alongside the cochlear ear implant, aeronautics and global stock exchange surveillance software when major technology advances were showcased to the Prime Minister and other dignitaries last month.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) President Noel Campbell joined Dairy Futures CRC’s CEO David Nation and Chair Mike Ginnivan at Parliament House in Canberra for the annual Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Association Conference.

This year’s event, themed Australia 2040, celebrated 25 years of innovations by more than 40 CRCs to Australian leaders, including Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The conference included an innovation showcase, at which many of the 400 attendees, including ministers, parliamentarians, advisers and ambassadors, took the opportunity to better understand both the scale of innovation being undertaken by the dairy industry and how bioscience will make a real difference to dairy farm businesses through pasture and cattle breeding.

Mr Campbell, Dr Nation and Dr Ginnivan met the Prime Minister and discussed how Dairy Futures CRC is enhancing dairy productivity through pasture and herd improvements using genomics.

Dr Nation said that agriculture now sits beside medicine as a major driver of scientific progress in Australia.

“Dairy Futures CRC is a success story for industry-driven innovation. We have over-delivered on our original commitments and transformed dairy herd and pasture breeding in Australia.

“The effects of many of our innovations are already in farmers’ and commercial partners’ hands and we expect these will grow rapidly over the next 10 years.”

After the showcase, Dairy Futures CRC was delighted to join ADF in hosting The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon and Senator Bridget McKenzie at a dinner in the Great Hall at Parliament House.

Other distinguished guests included the Prime Minister, keynote speaker and Minister for Industry and Science, The Hon. Ian Macfarlane, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, as well as ambassadors, high commissioners and senior officials from 15 countries.

Mr Macfarlane spoke of the great benefit CRCs have brought to research and development in Australia, delivering significant economic, environmental and social outcomes.

ADF looks forward to working with Dairy Futures to build the long term sustainability of farming practices, and will continue to advocate strongly for the positive innovations of transformational bioscience.    


ADHIS Update: Breeding news at your fingertip

May 11, 2015

Two short videos are online to explain changes to Australian Breeding Values (ABVs) and indices. 

The bull choices farmers make for every joining have a long term impact on the profitability of their herd. Farmers now have access to a broader range of communication forms, including animations, e-news and social media components in addition to the traditional media and web services.

Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) Extension and Education Manager, Michelle Axford said that ADHIS is committed to providing new and exciting content delivered across the most popular platforms.

“The science behind ABVs is complex, but how we use them to make good decisions doesn’t have to be.

“Providing practical breeding information across a range of devices will help farmers when choosing bulls,” Mrs Axford said.

 

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For more information or to arrange a presentation to your organisation, please contact ADHIS Extension and Education Manager, Michelle Axford on 0427 573 330 or maxford@adhis.com.au

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