Ben and Yvonne Lee weren’t born into farming but have taken it up with vigour.
The gene mapping service identifies the ancestry of individual stock.
DNA samples are collected by taking a small piece of tissue from an animal’s ear.
Allflex tissue sampling ear tags are either applied to calves at birth or as buttons on mature animals.
Tissue samples are then sent to CRV’s approved affiliated DNA genotyping laboratory, GenomNZ, where DNA is extracted for parentage and single gene analysis.
CRV Ambreed product development team leader Erin OConnor says DNA verification is inherently free of error when deciding on the best direction for a herd.
Herd records will show exactly who the animal’s sire and dam are through specific genetic markers.
“The farmer will then understand which cows in the herd are the best and which sires they can be mated to,” she says.
Samples analysed also identify the A2/A2 beta casein status of the individual animal and other defect genes.
CRV Ambreed last year trialled DNA testing on 4991 animals on nine farms.
Only 41% of the animals tested as having been recorded with the correct sire.
“The animals with incorrect parentage information also had inaccurate BW, PW and BV information,” OConnor said.
“This information is vital when making onfarm decisions and it would have resulted in misguided mating and culling decisions.
“We updated the sire information for 46% of the animals tested, which completely changed the rankings for BW and PW across the herd. Those farmers can now use that information when making decisions on mating and culling.”
Parentage results are sent by CRV Ambreed to NZ Animal Evaluation which uses the data to identify NZ’s most efficient feed convertors to milk.
“Inaccurate parental data is not only an issue dealt with onfarm; it impacts the wider industry too because accurate ancestry information substantiates breeding values and breeding indexes,” OConnor said.
“Future animal evaluation runs which estimate genetic breeding values and indices used in NZ will be a lot more accurate.”
OConnor says DNA verified animals could fetch higher premiums in saleyards and could influence farmers’ buying and selling decisions.