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Stackyard News Mar 08

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Avoncroft Adopts Genomic Selection to Speed Up Genetic Progress

CRV, the major supplier of Dutch genetics to British cattle breeding company Avoncroft Genetics, will be fully using genomic selection in its bull proving scheme by the second half of 2008. The Dutch company CRV, also known as Holland Genetics - is the forerunner in the application of this advanced selection technique.


Genomic selection - the selection of animals through breeding values based on DNA-profiles – provides reliable information, at a young age, on potential breeding animals. This enables ‘sharper’ and more accurate selection of animals and leads to faster genetic progress. CRV will implement significant changes in its breeding programme in order to maximise the benefits of genomic selection. These include:

  • A doubling of the selection pool. Annually, CRV selects 500 young Holstein and red Holstein bulls. With the additional information provided by using genomic selection, this number will increase to 1,000. This will be the result of more intensive use of bull dams within the CRV Delta breeding programme and from contracting more young bulls, out of bull dams from private breeders.
  • A doubling of the selection intensity of young bulls within this group. Two hundred out of 1,000 selected young bulls will be tested – a selection intensity of 1:5, compared to 1:2 previously.
  • Increased variation in pedigrees among the tested bulls and the extra information that genomic selection will provide will highlight the qualities of new cow families more quickly and make it easier to utilise the strengths of these families.
  • Targeting of breeding programmes by CRV towards different market segments. With genomic selection it is possible to predict – at a very young age – whether a bull will transmit the qualities desired by different markets.

“Thanks to Genomic selection, the success rate of CRV tested bulls breaking through as commercial breeding sires will double,” says Avoncroft Genetics’ David Matthews. “The genetic progress will also increase significantly, estimated to increase by at least 35%. With these changes, CRV marks a new era in cattle breeding that UK producers are set to benefit from.”

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