Recent Industry Affairs Activities

Brian Wickham (NZAEL) discussion with Breed Societies

The development of the NZAEL genetic platform to include genomic data is progressing for February 2021 outputs.

When the genomic platform is fully implemented, NZAEL proposes there will be some cost recovery fees to users, which includes farmers and breed societies. Industry Affairs and the JerseyNZ GM have provided feedback to NZAEL on its tentative fee structure. We now await NZAELs response. 

When this genomic platform is up and running, farmers will be able to obtain genomic data for their own animals by; sending samples to an approved genomic lab for DNA analysis, who will send these results to NZAEL for genomic BVs and genomic BWs based on the NZ reference population. 

Malcolm Ellis – GM NZ Markets, LIC.

Industry Affairs and Genetics committees recently had a very constructive, informative zoom meeting with Malcolm Ellis. We covered a range of topical issues and here is a summary of this discussion.

The validity of genomics

The new single step model that LIC now uses to incorporate genomic information into bull (and cow) proofs is correlating well with actual subsequent daughter-proof results.

A comparison of the 2016 Jersey bull intake (44 bulls, born in 2015), between their genomic proof and subsequent daughter proof (after 3 herd tests) found the following:

77% of top half on genomics remained in top half after daughter data was included

73% of bulls in the top quartile on genomics remained in the top quartile

100% of bulls in the top quartile remained in the top half

Top 8 bulls after 3 herd tests all came from the top genomic quartile

Management of Inbreeding

There has been a steady increase in the inbreeding coefficients over the last 20 years for all breeds and crosses, but is more marked for Jerseys. Such an increase is an outcome that we should expect in a population subjected to intense selection. So when does it become an issue that seriously needs addressing? We are not at that point yet but Malcolm’s view is that it is something we need to make a plan for and as such Jersey NZ are now working constructively with LIC’s R&D and Genetics teams to formulate a future strategy to manage inbreeding in the Jersey population.

Inbreeding could be ‘fixed’ very quickly but the trick is to do this without compromising the rate of genetic gain. The Genetics group is actively working on a plan with LIC through the selection of Jersey Futures bulls and you may have noted at least 2 of the 2020 Jersey Future bulls are significant outcrosses. However, most importantly, these bulls still have very good breeding values and using them will give diversity without significantly compromising genetic gain.

Fertility BVs

Many of you are probably aware of the results of the high versus low fertility  BV trial that DairyNZ has been running over the last few years with Holstein Friesians.  This clearly showed that cows with high fertility BVs were a lot more fertile than low fertility BV cows, thus validating the fertility BV.

LIC data from herds on Minda shows the same. There is a noticeable fall in 6 week in-calf rate and increase in not-in-calf rate as the fertility BV of cows goes into the negative. The message from both these sets of data  is that the fertility BV of sires is something to take note of when selecting bulls for the herd. To obtain the fertility BV of your herd, ask for a “Herd BV Averages” report from LIC. CRV will have a similar report.

Jersey semen sales – 2019-20 season Over all LIC products, Jersey semen sales increased from 14.3% in 2018-19 season to 16.9% in the 2019-20 season, an increase of 18%.  There was a similar increase the previous season. This growth is clearly very encouraging for the Jersey breed.