NMR has won the tender to carry out 10,000 genomic tests on female Holsteins in UK dairy herds, as part of a project for AHDB.
It will use the results, and ancestral data on each animal, to expand the national database of genetic evaluations looking in more detail at the TB advantage trait, developed by AHDB Dairy, and development of a genomic prediction tool.
NMR project co-ordinator Justin Frankfort said the trait had helped dairy farmers identify bulls with higher resistance to TB, following research undertaken by Scotland’s Rural College EGENES in 2016.
He said: “Many producers are already using the TB advantage index provided for AI sires and the new data will help to increase its reliability. It will also provide genomic data on females so, in time, producers will be able to select cows and heifers with a TB advantage.
“NMR is selecting 60 to 70 herds to test in TB-affected areas, beginning in May. Tissue samples will be taken from all milkers and dry cows and these will be genomically tested through our
“The significant increase in genomic data will be fundamental in the development of the new tools, enabling producers to identify animals with higher natural resistance to TB.
“Producers participating in the project will also have access to the genomic results, provided to AHDB, on the NMR herd companion website.”
NMR said this herd genomic base is an ideal starting point for using GeneTracker as a management tool to predict the likely value to the herd of young heifer calves.
As part of the project, it is also identifying and genomically testing around 500 dairy bulls. This additional genomic data will also be added to the national database aiming to improve the reliability of TB advantage data already available for many UK dairy sires.
The project is worth £360,000 with funding from Innovate UK being provided to AHDB and project partners CIEL.