Livestock

Calls for input to reference group

By Country News

DataGene is on the lookout for dairy farmers who keep meticulous records to join Ginfo, the industry’s national reference group for genetic information.

Participating herds will have their two-year-old heifers DNA tested (genotyped) and classified for free and have the option to test young female calves at a discount.

They also receive a year’s free subscription to the HerdData app and early access to DataGene’s reports and tools under development.

To be eligible, herds need to be regularly herd-testing and recording information such as calvings, joinings, sires and dams, pregnancy test results and health events such as mastitis.

DataGene chief executive officer Matt Shaffer said Ginfo had enabled Australia to lead the world in genomic breeding values for traits that were difficult to measure such as feed saved and heat tolerance.

‘‘Ginfo is a critical data set in the genetic evaluation system for the Australian dairy industry. It’s enabled us to develop new breeding values and to improve the reliability of existing breeding values, especially fertility,’’ Dr Shaffer said.

During the next couple of years, DataGene plans to double the number of herds in Ginfo to about 200.

Ginfo herds are located across Australia’s eight dairying regions.

Jared and Courtney Ireland, who milk 420 Holsteins at Lockington, said the program had not changed the way they did things but had meant better ABV reliabilities, as well as new traits.

■Dairy farmers can express interest in joining Ginfo by filling in the form at: www.datagene.com.au or phoning Erika Oakes at DataGene on 0427 995 248 or emailing: [email protected]