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09 Nov 2020

Male calves to be genomic tested from January 2021

The Holstein UK board have decided that, from the 1st January 2021, all UK born male calves being registered will be required to have a UK genomic test. This test will be used to verify parentage and if successful will also provide a UK unofficial male genomic evaluation result for the calf.

The new process aims to:

  1. Remove the need for multiple DNA sampling of male calves
  2. Increase the accuracy of parentage testing and thus improve the integrity of the Herd Book
  3. Provide more accurate genetic evaluations for young bulls
  4. Provide future sire genomic profiles for genomic parentage tests

This will replace the existing DNA process and dams of calves will be required to be genomic tested if they do not currently have a UK genomic evaluation. The only exceptions will be if the sire of the calf does not have a UK genomic evaluation or if a foreign ET dam does not have a UK genomic profile. In those cases, the male calf can undergo the existing (microsatellite) DNA test and if the member also wants a genomic test, that will be charged separately and cannot be used for parentage verification.

The process
Members should continue to register male calves in the usual way. They will then automatically be sent a sampling kit for the calf and if required for the dam also. In the case of UK based ET dams, where the dam may not be owned by the member, the kit will be sent to the registered owner.
The cost of the male calf test will remain at £32.50 + VAT and if required a further £23.00 +VAT for the dam.
If samples are successfully processed at the lab, then parentage results will be available in 6 to 8 weeks.
Genomic tests conducted by another provider will be accepted if they result in a UK genomic evaluation.
If a member reports that a UK based dam is unavailable for testing, the registration of the male calf will be referred to the Holstein UK Operations Committee. 

Genomic results
Male calves that are successfully tested will receive an unofficial UK genomic result which will be published in the genomic portal.  This unofficial male genomic evaluation is only viewable by the member that has registered the calf. It may be shared with potential purchasers, but it cannot be used to market semen.

Summary

  • From January 2021 male calves being registered will require a genomic test
  • This will replace the existing DNA process
  • Dams also need a UK genomic evaluation
  • If successful, male calves will receive a UK genomic evaluation

For further information on male genomic testing please call Emma Smith on 01923 695 278 or email emmasmith@nbdc.uk