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

 

Air NZ Wine Awards: Victory For Villa Maria As Pinot Noir Thrills

It was a night to remember as Villa Maria Estate picked up one of the highest accolades of the evening, the O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show Trophy, at the 28th Air New Zealand Wine Awards. The Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough ... More>>

ALSO:

Future Brighter Money: RBNZ Releases New Bank Note Designs

New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year. More>>

ALSO:

Commerce: Supermarket Inquiry Finds No Breaches By Countdown

The Commerce Commission inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown supermarkets, alleged by former Labour Party MP Shane Jones, has found nothing to warrant prosecution, although it warns supermarkets to take care in the way they communicate... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Flags ‘Challenge’ To Budget Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning next month’s half yearly fiscal and economic update from the Treasury may not forecast a budget surplus, saying that returning the government’s accounts to surplus in 2015 will be “a challenge”, given the decline in commodity prices and weak global inflation. More>>

ALSO:

March 2015: Netflix To Launch In Australia And New Zealand

World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese (Is Up): Dairy Product Prices Fall To Five-Year Low

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction to the lowest level in more than five years, led by declines in rennet casein and skim milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Australians Scoring Trade Points Against Us With The Chinese

It hasn’t been a great year for Trade Minister Tim Groser... To top it off, Australia has just signed a FTA with China that has far better provisions on dairy exports than what New Zealand currently enjoys in our own FTA with China. More>>

ALSO:

Iwi & Local Consultation: Oil And Gas Block Offer 2015 Begins

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges today announced the start of the Block Offer 2015 process for awarding oil and gas exploration permits. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news