Denmark launches US$12.3 million cattle breeding project
A DKK64 million (US$12.3 million) cattle research project has recently been launched at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at Aarhus University, with the participation of the Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Eva Kjer Hansen.
The project is expected to save cattle breeders up to DKK1 billion (US$187 million) in 10 years.
The project is by far the largest single research venture within Nordic cattle research and is about the development of genomic selection.
The breeding method the project focuses on is believed to advance genetic improvement in cattle by at least 50 percent more than the current level. There will also be large savings for the sector in terms of costs and time, as progeny testing can be phased out.
Genomic selection can also incorporate health and fertility in the breeding programme, lessening demand and pressure for high efficiency and productivity in animal husbandry.
The technique involves making DNA tests of the animals and using gene markers to predict the breeding value of the animals. With the new method the breeding value of the animals can be estimated already at birth.
The new project plans to further develop genomic selection, for example by including new traits and more information.