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Stackyard News Nov 05

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livestock genetics


New Resource for the UK Livestock Industry

(left to right): Professor Bill McKelvey, Chief Executive, SAC, Drew Sloan OBE FRAgS, Managing Director, Semex and President, Holstein, UK, Trevor Lloyd, Chairman, MDC Evaluations Ltd., Prof Geoff Simm, Group Manager, Sustainable Livestock Systems, SAC, Dr Mike Coffey, Leader of Dairy Cattle Breeding, Sustainable Livestock Systems, SAC.
livestock services

Edinburgh Genetic Evaluation Services, a new service for the UK livestock industry, was launched today. This joint initiative between SAC, Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh was established earlier this year following the award of a contract by the Milk Development Council (MDC) to a group of scientists from the three organisations to provide statistics on the breeding worth of the UK's dairy bulls and cows.

With the award of a further contract by the MLC (Meat and Livestock Commission), the Edinburgh Genetic Evaluation Services team are now set to provide a similar service for the beef and sheep sector by processing the records collected via MLC's Signet Breeding Services. This new service for MLC will be rolled out in 2006. The creation of a modern new database by BASCO Data Ltd - a collaboration between leading sheep and beef breed societies - is central to delivery of these new services in the sheep and beef sectors.

Drew Sloan, OBE FRAgS, Managing Director, Semex and President of Holstein UK who launched the service said, "It has taken several years of planning and co-operation to get to where we are today, and we are now working together for the benefit of the whole agricultural industry; with one unit producing genetic evaluations for dairy, beef and sheep."

Guest speaker, Trevor Lloyd, Chairman of MDC Evaluations Ltd said, "Dairy farmers are being driven to greater and greater efficiency, and as such they need accurate and reliable breeding information. We know that a bad mating costs the same as a good mating, but takes years to rectify.

"For these reasons, we are very pleased that through the new unit at Edinburgh we are giving our dairy farmers access to one of the most advanced evaluations systems in the world. I am confident that they will have the best tools available for herd improvement, breeding cows most suited to modern-day milk production and supplying genetics that can compete in an international market."

Also speaking at the launch, Professor Bill McKelvey, Chief Executive of SAC, welcomed the development. He said, "SAC is pleased to be part of this major new industry initiative. We see this as a stepping stone which will enable the industry to take greater control over its future and create a platform that allows it to respond to market signals more quickly. Significantly, this is a UK driven initiative, using UK-tailored genetic evaluation methods, designed for UK livestock producers.

"The team, Professor Geoff Simm, Dr Mike Coffey, Dr Raphael Mrode and Dr Huw Jones of SAC, Professor Robin Thompson and Professor John Woolliams of Roslin Institute and Professor Bill Hill and Dr Sue Brotherstone of Edinburgh University are to be congratulated on their vision and hard work in establishing this service."

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