VikingNews Global 2-2019 FINAL - Page 7

Three reasons why VikingGenetics has an
innovative breeding programme for the future
The dairy industry is going to play a key role in meeting the rising demands of
sustainable food production. This will put the spotlight on dairy farmers who, to
accomplish this must ensure their farms are sustainable and their herds efficient.
t VikingGenetics, we have a
broad understanding of this
challenge and possess the
knowledge required to achieve this with
sustainable and innovative solutions.
Our new Genetic Development Manager,
Lars-Peter Sørensen, has extensive
experience of breeding value selection
in the Nordic Total Merit (NTM) Index.
He points to three strengths of
VikingGenetics that empower users of
our genetics as efficiency becomes
increasingly important.
1. Complete breeding programme
“We have a very comprehensive breeding programme in which everything we
do is based on calculations, simulations
and optimisation. This scientific
approach to designing our breeding
programme is, as far as I am aware,
unique,” Lars-Peter says.
The VikingGenetics breeding
programme for the three breeds takes a
financial approach based on the balance
between health and production.
The breeding department at
VikingGenetics works very hard to
control inbreeding rates in the three
Viking breeds. “Whereas other countries
have seen a big increase in inbreeding
rates after the introduction of genomic
selection, VikingGenetics calculations
are healthier. Because we are aware of
the risk of inbreeding when we select
breeding stock for future generation,
we use quite a lot of variety in unrelated
animals and so have avoided any such
increase,” he says.
The Nordic countries utilise a
programme called EVA to select
animals. EVA makes suggestions as to
The world needs to understand that dairy farmers are a part of the solution to cope with future challenges.
how we should mate the animals and
how to minimise the rate of inbreeding.
What you need to know is how fast the
inbreeding percentage is increasing
annually. The actual level of inbreeding is
not relevant as this will depend on when
you start counting (which generation).
2. Unique registration system
Millions of cow performance data registered give VikingGenetics an exclusive
source of information to improve the
breeding programme. In the Nordic
countries, farmers are willing to share
data on their cows at no charge. Over
40 years ago, dairy and beef farmers
understood the importance of having a
unique registration system to determine
how to design an efficient cow.
Such a long-term approach requires
documented data to generate value for
the farmer. By adopting a scientific
approach to everything we do,
VikingGenetics can drive developments to
bring concrete solutions to dairy farmers.
3. Reliable health indices
Sustainability and Innovation go hand in
hand at VikingGenetics. We understand
farmers are now facing a key time in
terms of climate change where milk
production is a big contributor to greenhouses gas emissions. Cows produce
methane gas naturally, and these emissions along with other factors in the dairy
industry puts dairyman in the spotlight.
However, the world needs to understand
that dairy farmers are a part of the
solution to cope with future challenges.
“Health indices such as Hoof Health
and YSS are unique and very reliable – our
competitors are trying to catch up, some
can calculate their breeding values, but
we need to bear in mind that we are
improving all the time and able to stay
ahead of the rest of the pack,” he says.
November 2019 | vikingnews


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