Improving Feed Conversion Efficiency

AUSTRALIA - The Victorian Coalition Government is funding new research in Gippsland that will lead to significant gains in the genetic traits of the state’s dairy herds and help to deliver an extra A$35 million to the dairy industry nationally over the next 10 years.
calendar icon 19 June 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said as part the state’s A$14.3 million allocation for the dairy industry, $1.5 million would be spent on research into genetic improvement at the National Centre for Dairy Research at Ellinbank and the Agribio research facility at Bundoora.

“The focus of this research is on genetic traits that will help to improve the rate at which cows convert feed to milk, known as feed conversion efficiency,” Mr Walsh said.

“Research to date shows a large genetic variation between different cows in their feed conversion efficiency, which is one of the key drivers of profitability in dairy farming. That variation provides our scientists with an opportunity to help boost dairy profitability by identifying the DNA marker profiles responsible for the most efficient feed conversion.”

Mr Walsh said the research would involve measuring the daily feed consumption of a large number of cows using world-class research facilities at the Department of Primary Industries’ Ellinbank centre.

The information will be combined with DNA marker profiles on each cow to develop a DNA test for the industry that identifies the efficiency of cows, and the efficiency of the genetics carried by dairy bulls.

“In time farmers will be able to identify their most efficient heifers and select more bulls that breed more efficient progeny to use in their herd. This will enable them to produce more milk from the same feed,” Mr Walsh said.

Mr Walsh said the feed conversion efficiency research would complement the work of DPI scientists in the 10,000 cows project being funded through the Dairy Futures Cooperative Research Centre.

“Victoria is at the forefront of research into dairy feed conversion efficiency and this new funding commitment from the Victorian Government will ensure our scientists continue to provide the dairy industry with a competitive edge over global competitors,” Mr Walsh said.

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