Forum to focus on how genomics is reshaping dairy cattle breeding

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Since its introduction in 2008, genomics has significantly changed how dairy cattle breeders choose sires and make matings for the next generation. In fact, genomics has likely made the biggest impact on dairy cattle selection in Holsteins, Jerseys, and Brown Swiss since the introduction of genetic evaluations nearly five decades ago. With any new science, there are opportunities and concerns as it is incorporated into the dairy operation.

To help breeders better understand the impact of genomics and how the technology may fit into their breeding program, the Wisconsin Holstein Association will be hosting a forum to discuss this pressing matter. The town hall meeting will take place on Thursday, July 21, 2011, at 1 p.m. at the Rib River Ballroom located at 3237 State Highway 29, Marathon, Wis. The four genomic specialists will provide the opportunity for dairy producers throughout the Midwest to ask questions and get answers regarding genomics. All interested in dairy genetics are welcome to attend the afternoon event.

The panel gives breeders the opportunity to learn first-hand from four industry professionals who work extensively with genomics. Heading the group will be Curt Van Tassell who is USDA’s lead researcher on genomics. Van Tassell continues to head up the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Bovine Functional Genomics project and will be able share the latest work on the project. Adding to the in-depth discussion will be a pair of industry leading sire analysts: Select Sires’ Charlie Will and Alta Genetics’ Jay Jauquet. Charlie Will is the long-time manager of Select Sires’ Holstein sire selection group who acquired notable sires such as Blackstar, Elton, Mathie, Integrity, BW Marshall, Durham, Blitz and Oman. Jay Jauquet is not only a regional sire analyst with Alta genetics but is an owner of a 220-cow dairy in Pulaski, Wis. He purchased bulls like AltaSuede, AltaAdam, AltaZesty, AltaFinley, AltaBaxter, and AltaRoss. Rounding out the team will be Tom Schmitt of Morningview Holsteins in Durango, Iowa. Schmitt and his family have a 90-cow dairy that was the nation’s top genetic herd in 2008, and they were recognized as a Holstein USA Herd of Excellence that same year. These four well-spoken individuals will share their experiences, both positive and negative, with the new technology.

After the panel’s presentations, questions will be accepted from the floor. Moderating the forum will be Corey Geiger who serves as the Wisconsin Holstein president and is a national director of the Holstein Association USA. He brings practical experience, having worked with genomics on his family’s dairy farm and by extensively covering the topic for Hoard’s Dairyman magazine.

Wisconsin Holstein, the hosts for this event, is a non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting Wisconsin Registered Holsteins for its 3,300 members statewide. For more questions on this forum or what WHA has to offer, contact the WHA office at 1-800-223-4269 or visit the Association’s website at www.wisholsteins.com.



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