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Barry and Suzanne Cliff: Checking parentage with genomic testing

13/06/2012

Genomic testing is now available and with this comes the opportunity to confirm the parentage of your animals.


When you submit a hair sample for genomic testing, the parentage is automatically checked. The analysis uses sire and dam information recorded with your herd test centre in conjunction with the DNA data collected from a hair sample. Where genotypes for parents are included in the reference population genomic testing can confidently confirm parentage as well as provide a genomic based breeding value.

You can use this information to


    - Verify parentage of young bulls for sale to AI companies or other farmers

    - Verify the parentage of calves born through embryo transfer programs

    - Verify the parentage of calves whose identities are unclear at birth


In some cases the predicted sire and dam may not be confirmed by genomic testing. This could be due to several reasons;

    - Sire/dam has not been genotyped

    - Sire/dam was incorrectly identified at the herd recording centre

    - The national ID was incorrectly recorded


To see an example parentage report click on the PDF files below.

In the recently completed Dairy Futures CRC 10,000 cow Holstein genomes project about 8% of cows genotyped had inconsistent parentage records. Participating herds were selected by ADHIS for their excellent record keeping skills. This figure is less than researchers had predicted and demonstrates the quality of recording practices on participating farms.

One of the herds selected for the project was the Gippsland dairy farmers Barry and Suzanne Cliff.

Barry and Suzanne run their 500 cow dairy with their son, Anthony, near the town of Stratford in Victoria’s Macalister Irrigation District. The Cliff family contributed hair samples from over 300 cows to the project.

Throughout the year mating and calving records are kept using paper diaries out in the paddock. Back at the office this data is then entered into an on-farm software package. Suzanne and Barry pride themselves on their accurate records dating back to when they began farming 43 years ago.

“Over the years, thousands of calving entries have gone through here.” Suzanne said.

Upon receiving the parentage reports for animals with inconsistent parentage records, Suzanne went back to her stash of pocket diaries going back almost 10 years. She found some cases where the dam was joined to two different sires and the calf was born in between the two due dates. Although they gave it their best guess it was genotyping that found the correct sire.

In other cases Suzanne could see the original paper entry had some question marks beside the calving record indicating that there was some uncertainty about which calves belonged to which cows.

“It’s exciting times. The 10K cow project has helped us to confirm the identification of animals that we were unsure about” Suzanne said.

In a further case it was clear that human error in recording the cow ID on the hair sample caused an error during the parentage check. This was quickly resolved and a new ABV(g) will be calculated.

Suzanne followed up by correcting the parentage records at the herd recording centre by using her on-farm software and is looking forward to seeing the genomic ABV(g) results for the affected cows after the next release. ‘Updating the records gives me peace of mind that our cows are correctly recorded – and so will their daughters and granddaughters in the future.’

Holstein Australia offer a genotyping service for all dairy farmers with Holstein cows or bulls.

Genomics is a substantial investment of dairy services levy on your behalf to help you breed the type of cows you want. Partners in the Australian genomic effort include Dairy Australia, Dairy Futures CRC, ADHIS, DPI-V, Holstein Australia Genetics Australia, and their commercial partners.

For more information, contact ADHIS by phone (03) 86 214 240 or email abv@adhis.com.au

Sample Parentage Report - Dam Confirmed.pdfSample Parentage Report - Dam Confirmed.pdfSample Parentage Report - Sire Confirmed.pdfSample Parentage Report - Sire Confirmed.pdf