Healthy, happy cows are productive cows…

Healthy, happy cows are productive cows and are a key to a sustainable future for dairy. The progress made in genomic technology by Dairy Futures CRC will be central to producing the happy, healthy kind of cow you want to milk.

The progress made in genomics technology helps farmers address key issues in herd health, which impact on the animal’s wellbeing. It also allows farmers to reduce the cost of production and exposure to external price shocks.

The AgriBio, centre for agribioscience, in Bundoora, is the home for Dairy Futures CRC’s work to develop world-leading gene technology. Members of the ADF team toured the facility in January, accompanied by the CRC’s CEO, Dr David Nation and Manager of Education and Industry Engagement, Belinda Griffiths, where they were exposed to a variety of the CRC’s projects.

Dr Nation explained how recent achievements in pasture and animal breeding will help farmers evolve their production systems.

“Recent achievements by the CRC, including the development of an Australian Breeding Value (ABV) for feed efficiency, which will be published in April 2015, have significantly increased farmers’ ability to improve the quality of their herds,” Dr Nation said.

“An improved model for calculating the fertility ABV and the ability of farmers to select young bulls before they have sired milking daughters also contribute to this.”

The technology developed in collaboration with the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme, will help farmers boost the productivity of their stock by matching animals which produce offspring with greater disease resistance, milk production and fertility.

Such progress, Dr Nation said, gives the industry the certainty that it will be able to grow regardless of economic and climatic environments. 

“This will give us the scope to improve dairy’s productivity and resilience now and in the future.”

Developments in breeding ryegrass have also been made with pasture breeders now able to select breeding plants for desirable traits using a world-first ryegrass cultivar map. Additionally, pasture breeding companies have low-cost, accurate tests to screen ryegrass seed and plants for contamination by toxic or undesirable endophytes.

ADF looks forward to working with Dairy Futures to build the long term sustainability of farming practices, and will continue to advocate strongly for the positive innovations of transformational bioscience.   

Find out more about Dairy Futures CRC and the work they do here.

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