Putting Genomic Information to Work

US - How genome-enhanced genetic evaluations can be used effectively for mating sire selection, young sire development programmes and identification of cows and heifers as potential bull mothers will be the focus of a March seminar specifically for Jersey owners.
calendar icon 27 January 2009
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“Jersey Genomics: Using the Code for Profitability” will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 14 at the Concourse Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio. The program is being held in conjunction with the winter meetings of the directors of the American Jersey Cattle Association and National All-Jersey Inc., and the 2009 planning meetings for The All American Jersey Show & Sale.

Lead presenter will be Kent Weigel, dairy geneticist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Genetics Programs Administrator with the National Association of Animal Breeders. In these capacities, Dr. Weigel has been centrally involved in the development of DNA marker-assisted selection research, the practical application of genomic selection tools and programs, and implications for genome-assisted management of dairy cattle.

Dr. Weigel is an author of over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and numerous popular press articles, including publications in Hoard’s Dairyman and Jersey Journal. He has received research funding approaching $3 million, including grants for eight different studies from the AJCC Research Foundation and the Jersey organizations since 1999. Those studies included evaluation of computerized mating programs for managing inbreeding in the Jersey breed, a groundbreaking study of the relationship between Jersey linear type traits and culling risk, the performance of Jersey-sired crossbred calves, and also feed efficiency and cheese yield potential of Jersey-sired crossbred cows.

He will be joined on the moderated panel by Jerry Spielman, Seneca, Kans., and Linda Hodorff, Eden, Wis.

Spielman, who was elected this past June to the AJCA Board of Directors, is the owner with his wife Sue of Heartland Jerseys Inc. Spielman was among the first to begin DNA/genomic testing of Jersey females. Among the 16 tested to date are six heifers on the January 2009 list of top 500 heifers ranked by Jersey Performance Index™. He will talk about why and how certain animals were selected for genomic testing, and the application of this information in his breeding and marketing efforts.

Linda Hodorff will bring a unique perspective to the panel discussion, as a breeder applying genomic information and having previously worked in the A.I. industry.

With husband Doug and son Corey and his wife Tammy, the Hodorffs own and operate two dairies in Wisconsin and Nebraska milking over 1,400 registered cows of both the Holstein and Jersey breeds. “We’re working with CRI to test a select group of heifers,” Hodorff explains, “and will have made decisions based on the January proofs.”

Hodorff worked in the A.I. industry for nearly a decade after college graduation, in semen sales, young sire programs and sire selection for Carnation Genetics/Landmark Genetics.

There is no charge to attend the program or the informal social afterwards. Reservations are not required, but would be appreciated. Contact the American Jersey Cattle Association, at 614/861-3636, extension 330 or email [email protected].

The Concourse Hotel is located at 4300 International Gateway, on the grounds of Port Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. For special room rates for the Jersey meetings, make reservations before Friday, February 20.

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