Australian dairy farmers continue to smash genomic records with 51 per cent more female dairy cattle tested in past year.
A total of 92,986 dairy female animals were genomically tested during 2022-23.
DataGene chief executive Dr Matt Shaffer told the organisation's annual general meeting on November 16 female genomic testing was a "game-changing opportunity" for Australian dairy farmers.
"It allows them to accurately identify the most profitable replacements soon after birth," Dr Shaffer said.
"By quantifying the invisible, genomic testing creates opportunities to fast-track herd genetic gain and productivity as well as diversifying income streams and enhancing business agility."
Bull genomic testing increased by 42pc to a total of 8650 bulls in 2022-23 - a genomic testing record.
Increasing Australian genomic testing rates is a high priority for DataGene as genomic information not only helps on-farm decision making, but this DNA information also underpins the development of new Australian Breeding Values (ABVs) and the strengthening of existing ABVs.
An example of the effect of extra data collection assisting the industry is the increase in ABV reliability of young sires.
The Balanced Performance Index (BPI) reliability of young Holstein sires has increased 1pc since 2020, while reliability of young Jersey sires has increased 5pc.
Dr Shaffer said this increase in BPI reliability meant farmers and breeding advisers could select bulls for their breeding program with even more confidence they would deliver on their genetic potential.
Other genetic trends highlighted at the DataGene AGM included the rise in the average rate of genetic gain for BPI in sires of cows.
The rate of genetic gain in Holsteins has increased from $28.82 per cow/year to $32.62/cow/year during the past five years.
For Jerseys the 10-year trend is $15.76/cow/year; during the past five years this has risen to $16.54/cow/year.
This news comes as its revealed DataGene is on track to deliver $638 million to the Australian dairy industry through improvements in genetic gain, breeding efficacy, herd and data management decisions and use over 30 years.
This benefit came from an analysis commissioned by DataGene and Dairy Australia and completed by independent economic advisors Marsden Jacob Associates to better understand the impact DataGene has had on the Australian dairy industry since its inception in 2016.
The analysis showed DataGene delivered a benefit-cost ratio of 17.9 to 1 - comparable to work completed overseas.
DataGene chair Graeme Gillan told the AGM this benefit-cost ratio demonstrated the power of genetics and how it compounded.
The AGM also provided an update of how DataGene was working to connect additional sources of farm data to the Central Data Repository - the dairy industry's data hubs.
DataGene is tackling this challenge from multiple angles.
Progress was reported through two initiatives: the International Dairy Data Exchange Network (iDDEN) and the Data Connect project.
Dr Shaffer said the iDDEN had agreements with Delaval, GEA, Lely, Afimilk and Smaxtec to contribute on-farm data to the Central Data Repository, but developments with this technology and service had been challenged by the speed by which the equipment manufacturers could connect and Australia's place in the international queue.
In preparation for this connection, DataGene has initiated 'Data Connect' - a short to medium-term data exchange solution - to help farmers exchange and integrate herd and farm management data.
Dr Shaffer said as part of the Data Connect project DataGene installed Ori-automate software from Lactanet in Canada on a GEA farm and a DeLaval farm.
This has provided a proof of concept with daily data from these farms now flowing into the system.
The AGM also confirmed the appointment of two new DataGene directors and the reappointment of Western Victorian dairy farmer Sam Simpson.
New director Alex Ball owns and operates a stud beef enterprise at Armidale, NSW.
While working for Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) he led the implantation of the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) index and MSA optimisation, managed the national sheep recording program, Sheep Genetics, and managed a variety of national research and development programs.
He has also worked as the Herefords Australia chief executive and company secretary and now operates his own consultancy service, Rural Analytics.
Viking Genetics country manager, Australia and New Zealand, Jim Bruce will also join the DataGene board.
He has worked in the Australian genetics supply chain for most of his career and has experience in both dairy and beef as well as insights into different systems in the United States, Canada and France.
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