Genomics - Friend or Foe?
GENOMICS-FRIEND OR FOE?
The latest bull proofs for genomically tested bulls illustrates just why we should all be concerned as the breed relentlessly progresses towards even higher in-breeding percentages and all the associated problems.
Inbreeding data for cows in North America is now in the region of 8%. Many of the top ranking sires are into double figures.
It is a fact that this so called genetic gain also results in genetic loss, at great detriment to the cow. And what is the point of it all if the massive PLI claims are never delivered because the cow simply does not last long enough and unlikely to cover her replacement costs? The current average for these UK milk recorded animals is only 2.7 lactations.
If British Friesians are not to be dragged along in the slip-stream, then Breeders will have to act swiftly and decisively. That is why a small party of Club Members have been over to North Holland to visit herds bred from the original Friesian population. They found strong capacious cows producing good quantities of high constituent milk and majoring on production from grass.
The value of these long lasting, easy-care cows has been undermined in the world of high production. But these cows are just what the Industry needs if it is to face a volatile future. Introducing new blood lines, together with breeding from those good cows proven in the herd, will ensure the future of the British Friesian. Not just for ourselves, but to help other dairy farmers.