VikingGenetics is expanding its range of services with the launch of female genomic testing and corrective mating packages.
The services promise to offer the United Kingdom (UK) dairy producers the benefits which have helped earn Nordic dairy cattle their reputation as both the healthiest and highest producers of fat plus protein in the world.
The genomic testing service will not only provide UK producers with an overall economic index with which to rank the youngstock in their herds. It will also provide genomic figures for over 40 different traits, including unique VikingGenetics indexes, such as hoof health and general health.
The genomic testing service will also help producers make better decisions about which females to rear, to inseminate to sexed semen or breed to beef. It will allow them to see how their cattle rank on the economic index, Nordic Total Merit (NTM).
Alongside genomic testing comes the launch of VikingGenetics’ corrective mating service. Called VikMate, the service will enable producers to quickly and easily identify bulls which complement each animal in their herd. The service will help minimise inbreeding and avoid undesirable recessive genes.
A particular innovation of the mating service is its flexibility. This allows farmers to use a pre-defined genetic index or to customise their own to meet their specific breeding goals. These could be to maximise milk price under their particular payment structure or to focus on issues in need of correction within their herd.
“VikingGenetics has been selling cattle semen in the UK for over 10 years and we are delighted our bulls now feature highly on the UK’s national rankings for all of the major dairy breeds,” says Kenneth Byskov, Senior Project Manager at VikingGenetics. “To us, it is a logical extension that we introduce services which will help our customers make the best use of these genetics within their herds. It is also notable that the breeding programmes in our respective countries have never been more similar.”
Matthew Stott, Director at VikingGenetics UK Ltd, adds: “We are all striving to produce an efficient, sustainable cow with innate good health and resistance to disease which produces high quality milk.”
VikingGenetics is a farmer co-operative spanning Denmark, Sweden and Finland which has had a long-term focus on breeding for health. Driven by a highly regulated veterinary framework and a requirement to minimise the use of medicines, the co-operative leads the way on improving many health and related traits through genetic improvement.
In the Holstein breed, VikingGenetics boasts three of the top 10 daughter fertility improvers in the highly competitive UK and international proven bull ranking. For the Ayrshire/Red and Jersey breeds, the co-operative completely dominates with eight and nine out of 10 respectively in the breed rankings for the UK’s Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI).
“The UK’s £PLI and NTM have extremely similar formulae,” adds Mr Stott. “Both indexes reward milk quality, fertility, health and efficiency and help raise a herd’s profits through breeding.”