PhD defence

Genetic improvement of resilience in dairy cattle using longitudinal data

PhD candidate Marieke HWM (Marieke) Poppe
Promotor RF (Roel) Veerkamp H (Henk) Hogeveen
External copromotor dr. ir. HA Mulder
dr. C Kamphuis
Organisation Wageningen University, Animal Breeding and Genetics, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences (WIAS)

Fri 4 March 2022 16:00 to 17:30



Dairy cows face many kinds of environmental challenges throughout their life, such as infections, sudden changes in feed quality, or heat waves. Resilient cows are cows that can cope well with such challenges - they are minimally affected and recover quickly. Having resilient cows is beneficial for both cows and farmers.

In this thesis, I investigated if unexpected changes in daily milk yield and daily activity data can be used to breed more resilient cows. The milk yield and activity of cows is affected by most challenges and therefore patterns in these traits can indicate resilience.  This thesis shows that low variability in milk yield and low dependency between day-to-day milk yield and also day-to-day activity can all help to select resilient cows. Genetic improvement of resilience will likely improve welfare and profitability of cows, and improve job satisfaction of farmers