it’s always fascinated me is how much improvement we can make with cows and when I started 40 years ago we had a crude way of assessing a cow’s genetic makeup genomics is an extension or a more accurate way of doing what we’ve done for, for years. There you are. Genomic selection and the accuracy of it varies from breed to breed 94% of the cattle in Canada are Holsteins and it has the biggest reference population for genomic selection once you know the parentage you got some idea of how good that animal is but as soon as you add that Genome genomic tests on it you’re doubling that reliability level the AI companies used to buy a large number of young bulls each year looking at their pedigree and offer a small amount of semen on each of those and then just to generate roughly a hundred daughters of each of those bulls and when they were progeny proven by the time they were five or six years of age then we knew which ones were the best ones and transmitted the best genes now a bull is born on a farm and an AI company can genotype that bowl and already have a really good picture of with DNA it inherited from its parents so now it’s over 70 percent of all of the semen sold is based on these genomic young bulls that have no progeny yet every dairyman needs to find a little extra advantage genomics is one of those when you can make animals more productive longer-lasting or lower costing that rate of genetic progress gives value to our industry and the some of that value over the cost of the genotyping or the investment in genomic selection has returned millions several millions to the dairy industry in the other breeds with smaller populations it’s not as easy the gain isn’t as strong but there is gain in every breed we can make genetic progress for any trait we know of today and any trait that we might think of tomorrow it’s not dependent upon knowing where the marker is or the QTL is a very big difference and really a snip selection genomic base section is is going to be much more beneficial. when I started classifying our first classification we had 13 good plus 66 Goods and 11 fairs our classification today is we have 10 excellence 71 very good 70 two good pluses and three Goods the cost of is always going down and with the cost where it is now it’s very smart to do some testing.
It’s a lot cheaper to do a genomic test than it is to raise an animal and find out two years from now that she really doesn’t cut the mustard oh this year we’ve been genotyping over 40,000 animals in Canada every one of them will have 100% guaranteed parentage and any errors that might have been accidentally recorded are corrected in that so it is guaranteed as a positive outcome of genomic testing with 100% accuracy. The advantage with snip based genotyping is these snip are dispersed and spread out across the entire bovine genome. Early on when we had genomics this was the skepticism about wow Can, does does reading DNA really help? Am I, are we accurate? In 2019 we’ll be celebrating 10 years of having genomic selection in Canada and North America and we’ve proven that it works our rates of genetic progress are more than doubled for for the most important traits and even significantly higher for all of these lower fertility traits as well.
So people know that genomics works and therefore yes they believe that that information with more confidence today and is able to invest in that the first countries to adopt genomic selection of being those countries that are well-established in dairy cattle improvement there’s many in Europe and Oceania North America clearly but the opportunity exists for many countries to benefit from it even developing countries and in that sense it typically would start with an understanding of their government that it has potential and that they can invest in that the progress has been steady and constant we have doubled our production per cow our cows look better and last longer the welfare of the cows greatly improved because of the different traits that we have but in the last 9,10 years with genomic testing that the rate of increases has come up and it’s gone faster so if you’re graphing it it would be on a higher plane. In addition to improved accuracy of selection and proper parentage recording a third benefit of genomic selection or genotyping of heifers is the identification of those heifers that are carriers of non desirable genes.
We have a in dairy cattle genetic recessive traits so as soon as you know it’s a carrier of it you can avoid it affecting the next generation by mating that animal to an animal that’s not a carrier the consumers out there are looking at us and we’re trying to deliver and continue to deliver a very healthy products that we all consume and that’s important to dairyman so we feel that there are opportunities between only selection above and beyond what we’ve ever had before to make sure that we’re offering the best dairy products from healthy animals in healthy environments