AgResearch scientists in India are working on developing a model to identify cows with the best milking genes in small herds in order to improve cow productivity and milk production in the country. The model uses genomic selection to identify DNA markers for cows with higher potential for improvements in herd production and has proven to be accurate when calibrated against data from cross-bred cows. The work, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to help India increase its dairy herd productivity.
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Picking the best cow to breed from with only two in your herd is being made more considered than a toss of the coin, thanks to work that includes input from AgResearch scientists in India. In a country of 75 million dairy farms averaging 1.7 cows per farm, the push is on to lift cow productivity to keep the country self-sufficient in milk production. Despite the country being able to claim that it is the world’s largest dairy nation, India’s dairy cows are relatively low producing, typically averaging only 6-8 litres a day. But AgResearch scientist and geneticist Roy Costilla has been part of an international team focusing on developing a means of identifying the cows with the best milking genes in small herds, to select for breeding future higher producing offspring. The work is funded through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop models that use genomic selection to identify the DNA markers for cows with a higher potential to deliver improvements in herd production. The ...