CDCB Industry Meeting Focuses on Genetics and Sustainability of Feed Efficiency


Dairy producers and genetic enthusiasts are invited to participate in the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) Industry Meeting, which will focus on feed efficiency, genetic selection and impacts on sustainability.

This annual meeting – the sixth for CDCB – will be held virtually on Monday, November 2, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. EST. Attendees may register here to participate via Zoom.

This discussion about the intersection of feed intake, feed efficiency and social responsibility precludes the CDCB launch of the new trait, Feed Saved, with the December 1 genetic evaluations.

With feed generally accounting for more than half of total dairy farm costs, the ability to genetically select for feed efficiency has been a long-time goal.

“There is tremendous potential to improve feed efficiency through genomics and genetic selection,” said João Dürr, CDCB Chief Executive Officer. “It’s a ‘win-win’ for producers and for dairy customers who expect more sustainable milk and animal proteins. Genetic selection for Feed Saved can improve farmer profitability and help reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of the dairy industry. We can make the same amount of milk with less feed and fewer natural resources to produce that crop.”

Along with Feed Saved, CDCB will introduce Heifer Livability and six new genomic type traits on December 1.

The November 2 meeting will be opened by CDCB Chair, Neal Smith of the American Jersey Cattle Association. Three renowned geneticists – Dr. Kent Weigel, Dr. Paul VanRaden, and Dr. Kristen Parker-Gaddis – will start the conversation on feed efficiency as they deliver brief presentations on the research, data collection, genetic methodology, and expected results for the new Feed Saved trait. Weigel, VanRaden, and Parker-Gaddis will then answer audience questions on the subsequent panel moderated by Dr. John B. Cole of USDA’s Animal and Genomics Laboratory (AGIL).

In the second hour, Dr. Frank Mitloehner will share insights on sustainability expectations from consumers and dairy customers, connecting the approaches that dairy producers and processors are utilizing for continuous improvement in sustainability and environmental impact.

Mitloehner will be joined by Corey Geiger, Lloyd Holterman and Dr. Juan Tricarico in a panel discussion to unpack the improvement opportunities through genetic selection, productivity gains and other approaches. Corey Geiger is Managing Editor of Hoard’s Dairyman, President of Holstein Association-USA, and a current member of the CDCB Board of Directors. Lloyd Holterman is Chair of the CDCB Producer Advisory Committee and owner of Rosy-Lane Holsteins, recipient of a national award in April 2020 for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability. Juan Tricarico is Vice President of Sustainability Research at Dairy Management Inc., Rosemont, Ill.

The agenda for the November 2 meeting (2-4 PM EST) is as follows:

  • Welcome, Neal Smith, CDCB Chair
  • Genetics of Feed Efficiency, Kent Weigel, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Feed Saved Methodology, Paul VanRaden, USDA AGIL
  • Feed Saved Results, Kristen Parker-Gaddis, CDCB Geneticist
  • PANEL AND Q&A: New Feed Saved Trait
    Kent Weigel, Paul VanRaden, and Kristen Parker-Gaddis, moderated by John Cole, USDA AGIL
  • Sustainability Expectations for U.S. and Global Dairy, Frank Mitloehner, University of California-Davis
  • PANEL AND Q&A: Importance of Genetic Tools to Improve Sustainability of Dairy
    Frank Mitloehner, Corey Geiger, Lloyd Holterman and Juan Tricarico, moderated by João Dürr, CDCB
  • Closing Remarks, João Dürr, CDCB CEO

All dairy producers, industry members and genetic enthusiasts are invited to register here for the November 2 meeting. Questions about CDCB or the industry meeting can be directed to CDCB Chief Operating Officer, João Dürr.

About Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB)

The Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB), in Bowie, Md., provides premier dairy genetic information services through industry collaboration centered around a mission to help optimize cow health and productivity in herds worldwide. The CDCB drives continuous improvement and maintains the integrity of the world’s largest animal database, building on a quality foundation with more than eight decades of recorded U.S. dairy animal performance. The CDCB is a collaborative effort between four sectors of the U.S. dairy industry: Dairy Records Providers (DRP), Dairy Records Processing Centers (DRPC), National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) and Purebred Dairy Cattle Association (PDCA).

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