Invited review: Use of assisted reproduction techniques to accelerate genetic gain and increase value of beef production in dairy herds
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CitationAlan D. Crowe, Pat Lonergan, Stephen T. Butler, Invited review: Use of assisted reproduction techniques to accelerate genetic gain and increase value of beef production in dairy herds, Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 104, Issue 12, 2021, Pages 12189-12206, ISSN 0022-0302, https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2021-20281.
AbstractThe contribution of the calf enterprise to the profit of the dairy farm is generally considered small, with beef bull selection on dairy farms often not considered a high priority. However, this is likely to change in the future as the rapid rate of expansion of the dairy herd in some countries is set to plateau and improvements in dairy herd fertility combine to reduce the proportion of dairy breed calves required on dairy farms. This presents the opportunity to increase the proportion of beef breed calves born, increasing both the value of calf sales and the marketability of the calves. Beef embryos could become a new breeding tool for dairies as producers need to reassess their breeding policy as a consequence of welfare concerns and poor calf prices. Assisted reproductive technologies can contribute to accelerated genetic gain by allowing an increased number of offspring to be produced from genetically elite dams. There are the following 3 general classes of donor females of interest to an integrated dairy-beef system: (1) elite dairy dams, from which oocytes are recovered from live females using ovum pick-up and fertilized in vitro with semen from elite dairy bulls; (2) elite beef dams, where the oocytes are recovered from live females using ovum pick-up and fertilized with semen from elite beef bulls; and (3) commercial beef dams (≥50% beef genetics), where ovaries are collected from the abattoir postslaughter, and oocytes are fertilized with semen from elite beef bulls that are suitable for use on dairy cows (resulting embryo with ≥75% beef genetics). The expected benefits of these collective developments include accelerated genetic gain for milk and beef production in addition to transformation of the dairy herd calf crop to a combination of good genetic merit dairy female calves and premium-quality beef calves. The aim of this review is to describe how these technologies can be harnessed to intensively select for genetic improvement in both dairy breed and beef breed bulls suitable for use in the dairy herd.
FunderDepartment of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine
Grant Numbergrant 15/S/732; 16/IA/4474; 16/RC/3835; VistaMilk
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