Dairy farmer and CLARIFIDE customer Tim Gue of Huddlestone Holsteins in Sussex has been genomic testing since 2010. Currently 85% of the 420-head, 11,000 litre-average herd has been tested.
All young stock are screened now as routine. Animals are ranked according to their genetic merit for the selection index £PLI (Profitable Lifetime Index), with extra emphasis on Fertility Index, Lifespan and combined weight (kg) of fat and protein.
Improvements Since Testing
Tim has seen average milk yield increase across the herd together with an improvement in fertility performance. Tim was quick to point out that anyone testing should be prepared to accept that an animal’s genetic merit can change significantly once tested, highlighting the limitations of using low reliability parent average figures.
Tim outlined that if he had not genomic tested last year’s heifer crop the opportunity cost of breeding the wrong heifers, based on their parent average genetic merit for PLI, would have resulted in an anticipated loss of £5480, even before factoring in the cost of reduced genetic merit across future offspring.
It was clear that genomic testing has, and continues to, revolutionise the cattle breeding industry. Accuracy of genomic predictions continues to live up to expectation, with continued research and development set to enhance the power of prediction. Genomic testing is now an affordable option to increase the productivity and profitability of the herd.