Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Fertility research seeks biological breakthrough

Fertility research seeks biological breakthrough

A new seven-year research study is underway to deliver dairy cows that are genetically more fertile.

If successful, the study could deliver an estimated $500 million national increase in on-farm profit each year.

The research study also aims to deliver new management tools to help farmers take advantage of the better genetic makeup.

DairyNZ senior scientist and project leader Dr Chris Burke says the study requires a purpose-built herd of 700 holstein-friesian heifer calves with low and high fertility attributes, created from carefully-selected contract matings in spring 2014.

“More than 2800 contract matings will be required and we need the support of dairy farmers to ensure that we are able to achieve the required number of animals,” says Chris.

LIC and CRV Ambreed are supporting the establishment of this research herd, with LIC managing the contract mating programme. LIC will start contacting more than 1000 selected dairy farmers during the last week of May.

Cow fertility is fundamental to dairy farm productivity, with the goal to get as many cows as possible in-calf in the first six weeks.

“More cows in-calf means more milk in the vat before Christmas, fewer replacements required, more flexibility when making culling decisions to improve herds and better returns overall for dairy farmers,” says Chris.

The research programme aims to lift the six-week in-calf rate from the current average of 65 percent to 78 percent. Achieving this would deliver an estimated annual increase in profit of $500 million.

“This is a challenging target that cannot be achieved using current knowledge and technologies alone,” says Chris. “A biological breakthrough is required.

“The research herd will help us to unravel the underlying biology that differentiates genetically fertile cows from infertile cows. The programme has assembled some of the best scientists in New Zealand and Australia to work together with this research herd.”

The fertility programme’s biggest challenge is reducing the apparent 30 percent of conceptions occurring in the first 35 days after insemination that are not sustained as a pregnancy.

The magnitude, timing and possible reasons for pregnancy failure in commercially-operated herds will be measured.

This has not been done previously and will be a major collaborative effort between DairyNZ, AgResearch and Fonterra, says Chris.

The fertility research programme also aims to increase the power to select for improved fertility genotypes through use of novel phenotypes (new ways to measure fertility for selection purposes), improved recording and enhanced statistical analysis models.

The cow fertility research programme is part of a partnership programme with matched co-funding from DairyNZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Additional funding and resources will be provided by AgResearch, Fonterra, LIC and CRV Ambreed.

The research will be led by DairyNZ’s Dr Chris Burke and, along with other scientists from DairyNZ, involves internationally-recognised science teams from AgResearch, University of Victoria-Wellington, University of Queensland, Cognosco (a division of Anexa Animal Health), New Zealand Animal Evaluation Ltd and genetics research company AbacusBio.

-ENDS-

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

No Voda/Sky: Commission Declines Clearance For Merger

The Commerce Commission has declined to grant clearance for the proposed merger of Sky Network Television and Vodafone New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

EARLIER:

Power: IEA Report On New Zealand's Energy System

Outside of its largely low-carbon power sector, managing the economy’s energy intensity and greenhouse gas emissions while still remaining competitive and growing remains a challenge. More>>

ALSO:

NASA: Seven Earth-Size Planets Around A Single Star

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Transport Case: Men Guilty Of Corruption And Bribery Will Spend Time In Jail

Two men who were found guilty of corruption and bribery in a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) trial have been sentenced in the Auckland High Court today... The pair are guilty of corruption and bribery offences relating to more than $1 million of bribes which took place between 2005 and 2013 at Rodney District Council and Auckland Transport. More>>

ALSO:

Hager Raid: Westpac Wrong To Release Bank Records To Police

The Privacy Commissioner has censured Westpac Banking Corp for releasing without a court order more than 10 months of bank records belonging to the political activist and journalist Nicky Hager during a police investigation into leaked information published in Hager's 2014 pre-election book, 'Dirty Politics'. More>>

ALSO:

EARLIER:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news