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Ireland has now reached over 54,000 genotypes for dairy females. This is a very significant number of female genotypes and would not have been possible without the support of the Irish farmers, herdbooks, AI companies, Teagasc and the DAFM. This volume of genotyping will allow the Irish dairy industry to further reap the rewards of genomic evaluations which will have major impact on the financial and environmental sustainability of Irish dairy farms into the future.

Genomics has revolutionized the global dairy breeding industry and Ireland was the second country in the world, after the USA, to incorporate genomics into dairy evaluations. The IDB Chip is the International Dairy & Beef Chip (currently on version 3), which was developed in Ireland with Illumina and is used to analyse an animal’s DNA.  See graph 1 which tracks the growth in female genotypes over the last number of years.


Graph 1. Number of dairy female genotypes in the ICBF database at the end of each year.

Female genotyping has numerous benefits at both farm and industry level. For farmers, they can use genomic information to make better management decisions such as, mating optimisation, major gene avoidance and verification of pedigree. Many farmers now see genotyping females as a routine and essential part of running their dairy business. As the cost of genotyping continues to fall, the level of female genotyping is expected to increase significantly.

At industry level, it will improve the reliability of genomic selection as these females will eventually go on to be used in the reference population for genomic evaluations. The importance of including females in the reference population will continue to increase, which means it is vital that female genotyping at farm level increases also. This is especially true for breeds such as Jersey and Norwegian Red, breeds for which we are currently unable to generate genomic evaluations in Ireland.

How can I Genotype?

To avail of this service, call ICBF 023 8820452 or email [email protected]. Alternatively, you can order DNA kits yourself through our self-selection screen by logging into your HerdPlus account and selecting ‘Services’ – ‘Genomic Services’ – ‘Place Order’. Payment can be made using a credit or debit card

Further information is available here