A pilot trial has begun, seeking to understand a possible link between the methane cows produce and their genetics.
The gene mapping service uses progressive technology to identify the ancestry of individual stock.
The company collects DNA samples by taking small pieces of tissue from animals’ ears. Allflex tissue sampling ear tags are applied either to calves at birth or to mature animals as buttons.
The samples are then sent to CRV’s approved affiliated DNA genotyping laboratory GenomNZ where DNA is extracted for parentage and single gene analysis.
CRV Ambreed product development team leader Erin OConnor says the industry will applaud the service because DNA verification raises no risk of error in a farmer’s decision on the best direction for a herd.
She says herd records will show exactly who an animal’s sire and dam are through specific genetic markers.
“The farmer will then understand which cows in the herd are the best and which sires they can be mated to,” she says.
Samples analysed also identify the A2/A2 beta casein status of the individual animal and other defect genes.
A CRV Ambreed trial last year DNA-tested 4991 animals on nine farms; only 41% of the animals tested were recorded as having had the correct sire.
“The animals with incorrect parentage information also had inaccurate BW, PW and BV information,” OConnor said. “This information is vital when making onfarm decisions and it would have resulted in misguided mating and culling decisions.
“We updated the sire information for 46% of the animals tested, which completely changed the rankings for BW and PW across the herd. Those farmers can now use that information when making decisions on mating and culling.”
Parentage results are sent by CRV Ambreed to New Zealand Animal Evaluation which uses the data to identify NZ’s most efficient feed convertors to milk.
“Inaccurate parental data is not just an issue dealt with onfarm; it impacts the wider industry too because accurate ancestry information substantiates breeding values and breeding indexes,” OConnor said.
“Future animal evaluation runs that estimate genetic breeding values and indices used in NZ will be a lot more accurate.”
OConnor says DNA verified animals may in future sell for more at saleyards and could influence farmers’ buying and selling decisions.