THE NEW Mastitis Resistance ABV will become a “key platform” in the breeding objectives for Gippsland dairy farmers Trevor Saunders and Anthea Day.
Milking 950 predominantly Jerseys, across two farms at Shady Creek, they have been looking forward to the release of the new health trait.
“I think it is tremendous. It really is a key component for genetic economic management,” Trevor said.
“We won’t be using a bull under 100 for mastitis resistance going forward.”
Trevor and Anthea have concentrated on breeding for protein, likeability, type traits such as strength and udders, adding fertility and cell count into the mix in recent years.
They believe the Mastitis Resistance ABV will have more impact on their herd than the Cell Count ABV.
“Mastitis resistance is a significant thing for us,” Trevor said.
“We were using cell count as one of our key selection criteria, but we will change that to Mastitis Resistance because it brings in more aspects, other than just cell count.
“For example, the Mastitis Resistance ABV includes records for clinical cases of mastitis; this makes it a significantly more rounded ABV.”
While the Mastitis Resistance ABV has the potential to make huge improvements in dairy herds throughout, Trevor Saunders and Anthea Day will only be using bulls with a Mastitis Resistance ABV greater than 100.
Trevor said nothing was more important than on-farm management when it came to reducing mastitis.
“Mastitis resistance is a low heritability trait, similar to fertility,” he said.
“When you use it in a breeding program, it is a compounding trait and it relies on generations of use. It is still important to have good management in place.
“Nevertheless, it’s a really good development for DataGene to have a Mastitis Resistance ABV. I’ve been really keen on it right from the start.”