Morten Kargo

Genomic selection using indicator traits to reduce the environmental impact of milk production

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  • H Hansen Axelsson, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
  • W F Fikse, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
  • Morten Kargo
  • Anders Christian Sørensen
  • K Johansson, Växa Sweden, Sweden
  • L Rydhmer, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
The aim of this simulation study was to test the hypothesis that phenotype information of specific indicator traits of environmental importance recorded on a
small-scale can be implemented in breeding schemes with genomic selection to reduce the environmental impact of milk production. A stochastic simulation
was undertaken to test alternative breeding strategies. The breeding goal consisted of milk production, a functional trait, and environmental impact (EI). The indicator traits (IT) for EI were categorized as large-, medium-, or small-scale, depending on how the traits were recorded. The large-scale traits were stayability and stature; the medium-scale traits were live weight and methane in the breath of the cow measured during milking; and the small-scale traits were residual feed intake and methane recorded in a respiration chamber. Simulated scenarios considered information for just one IT in addition to information for milk production and functional traits. The annual monetary genetic gain was highest in the large-scale scenario that included stayability as IT. The annual monetary gain in the scenarios with medium- or small-scale IT varied from
€50.5 to 47.5. The genetic gain improvement in EI was, however, best in the scenarios where the genetic correlation between IT and EI was ≥0.30 and the accuracy of direct genomic value was ≥0.40. The genetic gain in EI was 26 to 34% higher when indicator traits such as greenhouse gases in the breath of the cow and methane recorded in respiration chamber were used compared with a scenario where no indicator trait was included. It is possible to achieve increased genetic gain in EI by using a highly correlated indicator trait, but it requires
that the established reference population for the indicator trait is large enough so that the accuracy of direct genomic values will be reasonably high
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume96
Issue8
Pages (from-to)5306–5314
Number of pages9
ISSN0022-0302
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

    Research areas

  • methane mitigation, genomic selection, indicator trait, dairy cattle

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