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

 

Genetics: New Heat Tolerant Cow Developed

Hamilton, New Zealand-based Dairy Solutionz Ltd has led an expert genetics team to develop a new dairy cow breed conditioned to thrive in lower elevation tropical climates and achieve high milk production under heat stress. More>>

Fractals: Thousands More Business Cards Needed To Build Giant Sponge

New Zealand is taking part in a global event this weekend to build a Menger Sponge using 15 million business cards but local organisers say they are thousands of business cards short. More>>

Scoop Business: NZ Net Migration Rises To Annual Record In September

New Zealand’s annual net migration rose to a record in September, beating government forecasts, as the inflow was spurred by student arrivals from India and Kiwis returning home from Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Fletcher To Close Its Christchurch Insulation Plant, Cut 29 Jobs

Fletcher Building, New Zealand’s largest listed company, will close its Christchurch insulation factory, as it consolidates its Tasman Insulations operations in a “highly competitive market”. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Novartis Adds Nine New Treatments Under Pharmac Deal

Novartis New Zealand, the local unit of the global pharmaceuticals firm, has added nine new treatments in a far-ranging agreement with government drug buying agency, Pharmac. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Wary On Tax Take, Could Threaten Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning the tax take may come in below forecast in the current financial year, as figures released today confirm it was short by nearly $1 billion in the year to June 30 and English warned of the potential impact of slumping receipts from agricultural exports. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Outage: Power Mostly Restored Overnight

Vector wishes to advise that all but 324 customers have been restored overnight. These customers are spread throughout the network in small pockets. The main St Johns feeder was restored around midnight allowing most of the customers in all affected areas to have power this morning. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news