This is part two of my podcast interview with Dr Donagh Berry, at the InCalf Reproduction Symposium earlier last month. Although Irish and Australian farming systems have many differences, the way they’ve improved fertility through genetic selection shows that it is possible to make progress through national breeding objectives and indices. This second part covers industry reactions to the EBI introduction, common myths and misconceptions about genetics, and what the future might look like for genetic selection.
In today’s post, we’re looking at some brand new Dairy Australia-funded research which is examining crossbreeding – exciting news for those of us who are looking for real answers behind the practice. Crossbreeding is often a topic that raises a great deal of passion amongst farmers and service providers – it seems like you’re either for it, or against it, with little in-between. Researcher Dr Jo Coombe (University of Melbourne) strides the rare middle ground very well. I had a chat to her to see what she’s doing to improve our understanding of its use in Australian systems.
Having recently attended the InCalf Reproduction Symposium, I was given a chance to interview a few of the speakers behind the scenes. My first interviewee is Dr Donagh Berry, from Teagasc in Ireland. The symposium booklet says that he is ‘responsible for the research on genetics in dairy and beef cattle and for the development and implementation of genomic evaluations in dairy cattle, beef cattle and sheep in Ireland’. This is true. However, he’s also an intelligent speaker with a lovely accent and a roguish sense of humour… who is not at all afraid to speak his mind. Perfect for a podcast.
In the last post, we covered two basic concepts about crossbreeding and how it works – the ideas of complementarity and hybrid vigour. So, what do we have to keep in mind when we implement a crossbreeding program, and how do we address drawbacks while maximising the benefits?
Crossbreeding has been used to great effect in other industries to maximise desirable production traits – and we’re increasingly seeing it gain traction within the Australian dairy industry. So what exactly is crossbreeding, how does it work, and how can you use it to your advantage?
Some of you might have seen an interesting little factoid that is being thrown around, namely that cows produce more milk after giving birth to daughters. Apparently, if the first calf a heifer produces is female, she has an increased lifetime milk output compared to heifers that give birth to males. Particularly since I often see this factoid displayed in sexed semen advertising, and just because it seems so darn convenient, I decided to investigate the science behind it. What I found surprised me.
If you’ve been looking at the new semen catalogues and wondering what ‘BPI’, ‘TWI’ and ‘HWI’ stand for – don’t worry, you’re not alone. In this post, we’ll takes a quick look at the new ADHIS indices and what they mean for Australian dairy farmers.
Some of you might remember ADHIS’ Longest Farm Walk last year, which toured 46 farms nationwide in search of farmer opinions. Maybe you’re even one of the farmers who attended these events and told ADHIS what you wanted to see in a new Australian index. Read more….