Global Data, Genetic Sectors Converge at CDCB Industry Meeting

CDCB hosted its 4th annual industry meeting at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., on Tuesday, October 2. The crowd of nearly 175 was comprised of dairy producers and representatives from artificial insemination (AI), genomic nominators, breed associations, dairy herd information (DHI) and dairy records processing centers (DRPCs). Corey Geiger, Managing Editor of Hoard’s Dairyman, emceed the event, and CDCB Chair John M. Meyer provided opening remarks (see “Connecting With” below).

João Dürr, CEO of CDCB, reflected on 10 years of genomic selection – acknowledging the first official USDA1 genomic evaluations in January 2009 and the April 2009 publication of the Bos taurus genome sequence in the journal Science. Dürr suggested five important conversations to move U.S. dairy genetics forward in the next decade.

  1. What level of involvement do dairy farmers wish to have in U.S. dairy genetics? Would we be content with moving toward a more integrated breeding program, as in poultry or swine genetics?
  2. What is the value of a cooperator database with performance, management and genomic data? How can such database support optimal decision-making in dairy herds?
  3. How do we leverage new technologies to provide performance data and phenotypes to the cooperator database?
  4. How can we maintain sustainable genetic progress to satisfy dairy customers and consumers?
  5. What is the importance of independent research and genetic evaluations to provide innovation and empower dairy farmers to shape their business models?

The third question provided the focus for the Madison meeting, titled “The Future of Phenotyping: How technology is shaping phenotypes in the genomic era.”

Paul VanRaden presented “What’s Cooking at AGIL?” featuring a six-course menu:

  • Discovering maternal grandsires and maternal great grandsires (appetizer)
  • Modeling the accuracy of pedigree data (soup and salad)
  • New cattle DNA reference map, SNP list and haplotypes (main course)
  • Age at first calving as a new trait (drinks)
  • Feed intake reliabilities (dessert)
  • What’s cooking at Paul’s house? (after dinner)

In the main course, VanRaden described the new ARS-UCD sequence map that will replace the current UMD3 map as the “common language” in bovine genomics. Adoption of the new and improved ARS-UCD map should provide better marker locations, genotype imputation, haplotype inheritance, sequence alignment and gene annotation. With 30% more SNPs, improved reliabilities and carrier status is also expected. AGIL1 and CDCB expect to utilize the ARS-UCD map for December 2018 evaluations.

Ezequiel Nicolazzi, CDCB Technical Director, previewed CDCB product development, including disease resistance enhancements, submission of clinical mastitis to Interbull for validation, genomic evaluations for crossbred animals expected in 2019 and the new trait Age at First Calving in 2019.

The CDCB thanks all those who attended. We welcome feedback about this meeting and future topics of interest. Attendee input guided changes to the 2018 format, like more external speakers and addition of an open forum.

1 United States Department of Agriculture, Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory