Genomic selection uses thousands of individual points of variation in the DNA sequence to predict the merit of every bull and cow. It is now commonplace for young bulls that are less than two years old to be marketed based on their DNA analyses. This is a big change from the usual approach of waiting until bulls are 6 to 10 years old so that they can be marketed based on the performance of their progeny. The inherent value of this new innovation is:
We can speed up genetic gain by using elite young sires and reducing the interval between generations
We led a whole-of industry effort that is turning around a fertility decline in the modern Australian dairy cow
Australian farmers can select cattle that require less feed (called Feed Saved) and will soon be able to select cattle for heat tolerance
A DNA test for cows gives the same information as waiting until the cow has records from nine lactations
Breeding new pasture varieties involves six years of deliberate crossing of elite plants followed by six years of product testing. This leads to steady gains and high levels of confidence in the performance of new varieties, but creates significant limitations on the rate of progress. Our work has overcome many of these constraints and delivered new methods to improve pastures, including:
New varieties with hybrid vigour and genomic selection can increase yields by 20% and 15%, respectively
New varieties of genetically modified ryegrass have higher levels of metabolisable energy
(1 megajoule per kilogram of dried pasture)
New pasture varieties with novel endophytes (fungi) can extend their productive life by 1 year, or 15%
Forty-four graduate and post-graduate students have excelled at taking on new science frontiers. Through an active mentoring program and a range of activities to increase students' understanding of dairy industry challenges, our students have embedded industry priorities in their fields of work. We also have one eye on the next generation of science-literate Australians and have taught more than 12,000 secondary school students and teachers about the marvels of science in active use by farmers.
Dairy Futures CRC is a research centre that has captured bioscience-based innovations for the Australian dairy industry. Dairy is a major national industry for Australia. Our challenge, as set by representatives of the dairy industry, has been to increase the international competitiveness of the dairy industry.
Dairy Futures CRC began operations in January 2010 and will complete its term in June 2016.Read more about usDairy Futures CRC Achievements
A large new R&D initiative called DairyBio will continue programs of work in forage improvement and herd improvement, as well as education and engagement activities, for the Australian dairy industry.Visit Dairybio website