Have your say on the nation’s breeding objectives.

Jun 18, 2024

Has your breeding philosophy changed in the past few years?

Are you focused on developing different traits in your herd?

Maybe you are keen to use genetics to lower your dairy farm’s emissions intensity?

Or, you might not want to change a thing.

Either way – as an Australian dairy farmer or industry representative – now’s your chance to have a say on the national breeding and genetic priorities.

DataGene – Australia’s independent industry organisation responsible for driving genetic gain and herd improvement – is asking farmers and industry people to fill in an online survey as part of its review of the National Breeding Objective (NBO).

This review is the best way to gauge the breeding priorities of Australian dairy herds now and ensure the industry is prepared for what’s to come into the future.

DataGene Chief Executive Officer Matthew Shaffer said the NBO survey was an opportunity for everyone in the industry to have a say about what kind of cow they want to breed.

Take DataGene’s NBO survey to have your say about the type of dairy cows we need to breed for our future herds.

“Feedback from across the industry is important to ensure the National Breeding Objective remains relevant to farmer preferences and is based on robust science,” he said.

“Areas of focus for this National Breeding Objective review, flagged by the industry Genetic Evaluation Standing Committee, include heat tolerance, inbreeding, future needs, breeding for sustainable and profitable cows and much more.”

The current National Breeding Objective is aimed at increasing net farm profit and sustainability, expressed though three breeding indices – Balanced Performance Index (BPI), Health Weighted Index (HWI) and Sustainability Index (SI).

The last National Breeding Objective Review, five years ago, flagged the need for a tool for breeding to fast-track genetic progress for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In response, DataGene introduced the Sustainability Index in 2022. That review resulted in changes to trait weightings for BPI and HWI and it also removed the Type Weighted Index (TWI) and a change to the weighting on milk volume within the indices to better reflect current milk pricing.

South Gippsland dairy and beef producer and DataGene Director Tim Jelbart said genetics has a compounding influence on dairy herds for years.

“Decisions we make today, as dairy farmers, will determine the type of cows we milk in a few years,” he said.

“The National Breeding Objective is an opportunity for dairy farmers to incorporate what they need and want from their future herds – from a genetic perspective – into industry strategies now.

“It’s also a chance to have a say on what our world-leading scientists at DairyBio can focus on to improve our industry and enable us to use genetics as a tool to help the industry take advantage of opportunities and tackle challenges.”

To fill in the survey by clicking here.

For more information contact: DataGene 1800 841 848 or abv@datagene.com.au or www.datagene.com.au.


DataGene is an initiative of Dairy Australia and the herd improvement industry.