Genomic evaluation for SA dairy industry

Jersey SA and SA Stud Book recently broke new ground for the dairy industry in the field of genomics.

This month genomic data was included in SA Stud Book’s Logix dairy genetic evaluation. SA Stud Book CEO Dr Pierre van Rooyen said SA Stud Book, Jersey SA, the private sector and the Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) had collaborated to make this possible.

“A number of Jersey breeders decided to make use of SA Stud Book’s genomic selection service to obtain genomic information on promising bulls and heifers. The objective was to ensure more reliable breeding value estimates for these animals at a young age.”

Data from participating breeders is sent to the CDN and the direct genomic values are converted by SA Stud Book using Interbull conversion equations blended with the organisation’s Logix mid-parent breeding values. This determines the genomically enriched breeding values. The original DNA data used is stored in SA Stud Book’s archives and will eventually form part of the reference population of the SA Jersey breed.

“The advantage of making this information available to farmers and the broader industry is to shorten the generation interval for dairy breeding and to maximise the accuracy of genetic prediction, especially for young potential breeding animals,” said Van Rooyen.