VikingNews Global 2-2019 FINAL - Page 10

Genetic progress at Viking
We move fast,
but are we moving too fast?
When genomic selection was first being introduced, whether this would
result in more or less inbreeding for the animals was a topic of debate.
As we can now scientifically demonstrate, it has not resulted in more
inbreeding for VikingHolstein. So, the answer to the headline is “NO”.
By Claus Langdahl, VikingHolstein Breeding Manager
enetic progress is now at
4.3 NTM units per year – the
aim is 4.0 NTM units per year.
This is measured from the sale of
VikingHolstein semen doses. There is
no doubt that the VikingGenetics
breeding programme is very efficient,
but how is inbreeding doing?
From basic breeding theory, we
know that a very one-sided use of the
best bulls and cows leads to high genetic
progress, but also much inbreeding.
Genetic variation will be reduced and
with this, the chance of maintaining
genetic progress in the long run. Plus,
we can face an increased risk of genetic
defects. Finding the right balance
between these two parameters – genetic
progress and inbreeding – is essential.
Generation interval
The main factor for high genetic progress
is the generation interval. In Figure 1 we
can see the development between 2009
that was before genomic selection and
today. It is measured on all purchased
VikingHolstein bulls during this period.
The figures show in particular bulls and
not females in 2009 that bulls were 2,500
days old when they had sons born and
now they are almost 800 days old.
The parental average falls from 1,910
days to 819 days – less than half. This
means that the parents were 18 months
old at time of insemination. For bulls in
particular, we can shorten the interval
even further, today it is primarily foreign
sires of sons that are a bit older when
the semen is available.
Pedigree variation
We purchase and start semen production of approx. 90 VikingHolstein bulls a
year. Almost all of these bulls will be used
for high index females and thus have a
A population
is sustainable
if inbreeding
by less than
1% unit per
Source: Food & Agricultural
Organisation (FAO)
vikingnews | November 2019


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