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GENUS ABS GENETICS HELP IN THE FIGHT AGAINST BOVINE TB.
On the 19th January AHDB Dairy announced the launch of TB Advantage – a new genetic index that will help UK dairy farmers breed cows with an improved resistance against bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
The groundbreaking index is the first of its kind and is currently available for the Holstein breed. Like other indexes the scale ranges from -3 to +3, with a positive number indicating that a daughter will have a greater resistance to bTB and a negative number, less resistance. For every +1 point, 1% fewer daughters are expected to become infected.
Genus ABS’ Mark Smith, Global Production Director and Andrew Rutter, Breeding Programme Manager are members of the AHDB Dairy Genetics Advisory Forum – one of the committees that was involved in developing TB Advantage. “The index has revealed a positive correlation between high-scoring PLI bulls and high-scoring TB Advantage bulls,” commented Andrew. “When selecting bulls to join the Genus ABS stud, we look for those with strong health and fitness traits. As a result of this our stud has performed very well on the index, with 34 Genus ABS bulls out of the top 100 proven bulls for PLI being TB Advantage improvers. Furthermore, seven out of the top ten TB Advantage genomic sires are also from the Genus ABS stud,” Andrew continued.
Canon-P has risen through the ranks of the UK Cornerstone Programme to become the second highest scoring genomic sire on the TB Advantage index – at +3.1 he is a real outlier for the trait. With his exceptional health and fitness and low SCC score, Carnhill Iota Acer, a four star TransitionRight™ proven sire also from the UK Cornerstone Programme is another top performer in on the TB Advantage index. His score of +2.6 means that we would expect to see a reduction in daughter cases of 2.6% during a TB outbreak.
At +2.9 Coollawn-Com Aventador is another exceptional TB Advantage genomic sire. His scores of
-14 SCC, +0.4 Lifespan, £595 PLI and five stars for TransitionRight™ demonstrate the importance of health and fitness on the trait.
“We recognise that bovine tuberculosis continues to severely impact on the livelihood of UK dairy farmers. The introduction of the index is an incredibly important step forwards. When used alongside existing control measures such as good bio-security practices and routine testing, TB Advantage provides an important and additional control measure in the on-going fight against this disease. We recommend that dairy farmers incorporate TB Advantage into their existing breeding strategy, and not as a standalone index,” commented Mark.
Mark concluded: “We are extremely pleased to be supporting this exciting development and I feel privileged that I had the opportunity to contribute to such an important project for UK agriculture.”
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