Research on sustainable breeding was presented to the public at the Dairy Campus open days. Besides research on individual feed intake, the basic principles of breeding and DNA where explained with candy.
Every farmer strives for a sustainable herd with healthy and efficient cows with a long lifespan. Breeding can contribute to this, because genetic improvement is a permanent improvement of the animal.
Individual feed intake is measured at the Dairy Campus and linked to the DNA of the cows. We showed the large variation in feed intake among the cows at the Dairy Campus. This data combined with feed intake data from other partners around the world has led to breeding values for feed intake (launched in April 2016). This means that farmers can select for cows that produce well with less feed. In the future there will be two selection lines on the Dairy Campus: one based on the Better Life Health index, and the other on the Better Life Efficiency index of CRV. The cows wearing black collars have higher breeding values for health and the cows wearing white collars have higher breeding values for efficiency.
DNA from candy
Basic principles of breeding and DNA were explained by the genetics behind black and red coloured cattle. Black and red genes were made from candy by the kids, but also the adults enjoyed the candy and learned a lot. The beautiful DNA-ladders are presented in the pictures.