NEW PRAGUE, Minn. — “Dairy Cattle Fertility After 12 Years of Genomic Selection: Lessons Learned, Current Applications, and Future Development” headlines the March 11 Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council (DCRC) webinar, which starts at 2 p.m. Central time. John Cole, PEAK senior vice president of research and development at URUS Group, will lead the one-hour webinar.
One Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) credit for this DCRC webinar was granted by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.
Before the introduction of genomic selection in 2009, the U.S. Holstein breed experienced a prolonged decline in fertility due to the negative association with milk yield. Daughter pregnancy rate decreased from a high of 39.5 percent in 1959 to a low of 24.1 percent in 2005. Dairy producers found this decline unacceptable. In 2003, fertility was added to the Lifetime Net Merit Index. Today, the fertility traits (daughter pregnancy rate [DPR], heifer conception rate [HCR] and cow conception rate [CCR]) receive 10 percent of the weight in the index.
Genomics provided the dairy industry with a tool to analyze DPR, HCR and CCR. “With the help of genomic selection, we are improving genetic merit for fertility faster than we were before the tool was available,” Cole explained. “Genomic selection was a critical tool for stopping the decline in Holstein cow fertility. Holstein cow fertility is now slowly, but steadily, improving.”
During the March 11 webinar, Cole will share details regarding:
- Dairy producers can improve fertility in their herds by using bulls with high genomic breeding values for fertility traits and will see those changes in one generation.
- Availability of low-cost, high-density genetic marker panels and whole-genome sequence data allow geneticists to identify genes associated with large effects on fertility and to dissect the biology of gametogenesis, fertilization and development.
- Continued development of reproductive technologies, such as sexed semen, oocyte pickup and embryo transfer, has provided dairy producers with new tools to increase rates of genetic gain.
- Other current and anticipated advances in reproductive management, including timed artificial insemination and development of remote sensing technologies, will allow farmers to improve cow fertility and increase profitability.
To register for this webinar, go to: http://bit.ly/DCRCMarchWebinar and follow the prompts. If you are a DCRC member and cannot attend the live program, you may access the webinar at: www.dcrcouncil.org after March 25.
Cole joined the URUS Group in December. Previously, he served as the acting research leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service. His responsibilities included day-to-day management of Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory projects. From 2003-2016, Cole investigated genetic differences among dairy cattle for calving ease, stillbirth, persistency of yield and health traits. Also, he developed tools for analyzing genomic data and studied relationships between genetic markers with large effects and economically important phenotypes, and evaluated changes in U.S. dairy cattle genetic diversity over time.
The Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council is focused on bringing together all sectors of the dairy industry – producers, consultants, academia and allied industry professionals – for improved reproductive performance. DCRC provides an unprecedented opportunity for all groups to work together to take dairy cattle reproduction to the next level.
–Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council
For more articles concerning the dairy industry, click here.