Facial eczema testing
Selective breeding is a long-term solution to facial eczema (FE), and thanks to the results of long-term research, dairy farmers now have access to the same testing that sheep breeders have been using for years.
FE costs the dairy industry as much as $100 million per year in affected cows and lost production, and the average cow has become more susceptible over the last 25 years.
Ram breeders have had access to an equivalent ‘Ramguard’ testing system for around two decades. The same principles have now been applied successfully to cattle, with the tolerance or resistance trait being shown to be just as heritable in dairy cattle as it is in sheep.
The last year of development work was industry-funded through DairyNZ. Using the information and resources provided by AgResearch, CRV Ambreed is now ranking AI bulls for tolerance and has begun to market semen from some of the highest-ranked bulls.