“Genotyping all calves at birth has been hugely beneficial to the overall herd. Clearing any possible parentage errors prior to registration is a fantastic asset in saving time and potential problems in the long run.”
We joined the DNA Calf Registration program in Spring 2021. In order to get up and running to participate in the program we were required to genotype all our cows and heifers who were due to calf down that Spring who had not been genotyped before. Once the cows and heifers had been tagged, their samples were sent to be tested.
Here our cows and heifers received parentage verification after about 10 to 14 days and their full genomic results in the following weeks dairy evaluation. We were very happy with the results we received from genotyping, especially some of the EBI changes we saw in some of our older cows. We thought that their genomic EBI’s were a more accurate reflection of the cow’s performance over the years.
Of course as with any herd that genotypes out their herd we saw a nice few changes in indexes across the entire herd, with some increases seen but cows also seeing a decrease which is to be expected. It was very important that any cow or heifer that was calving down was genotyped prior to calving in order for the calf to receive parentage confirmation and for the DNA reg process to work correctly.
The process you must follow for DNA reg runs very smoothly once you get into the routine of it. When a calf is born, they are tagged as normal. Herds in DNA reg receive a special double tissue tag which is only available to herds in the pilot. These double tissue tags have the normal BVD tag for one ear, and the DNA tag in the other national tag for the other ear. Here at home, our tag supplier is Cormac tagging, with these particular tags, the BVD sample is a white tube and the DNA sample is in a pink tube.
For registering calves we use the Agrinet HerdApp, this software is integrated to work with the DNA reg process and ICBF. We enter the calf’s details as normal as if we were registering them, but we do not proceed to complete the registration. The BVD samples are posted off to their relevant lab as normal. The DNA samples get sent to Weatherbys to be tested. Generally within five days we receive the parentage confirmation and we can proceed to complete the registration. With our dairy heifers receiving their full genomic results at roughly 2 – 3 weeks of age.
Although, we retain all our dairy females we found that when selling our dairy beef calves that having them genotyped and having parentage verification added to the sense of security for the buyers of these calves that they knew that they were exactly who they were meant to be. These calves also had their own CBV index values.
Overall, we are delighted to be involved in the DNA registration program. Genotyping all calves at birth has been hugely beneficial to the overall herd. Clearing any possible parentage errors prior to registration is a fantastic asset in saving time and potential problems in the long run.
- Jerry, Bridget & Sheena Murphy are farming in Ovens, Cork.
- 80 cows including pedigree shorthorn, jerseys, Holsteins.
- Garrhesta (HO/SH) & Bridevalley (JE)
- Herd average EBI €169 (An increase of €50 since 2018)
- DNA Reg participants since Spring 2021.