Submitted to: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service Institute of Food and Agriculture Science
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: September 20, 2011
Publication Date: September 26, 2011
Citation: De Vries, A., Galligan, D.T., Cole, J.B. 2011. The use and economic value of the 3K SNP genomic test for calves on dairy farms. University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service Institute of Food and Agriculture Science. AN270, 5 pp.
Dairy producers now have the opportunity to test their females with the low-density 3K SNP genomic test. This test provides an estimate of an animal’s genetic merit for many traits, including milk production and Net Merit (NM$). As of August 2011, approximately 45,000 animals have been tested with the 3K genomic test, most of them females. Many dairy producers wonder if genomic testing is worthwhile for their operation. Benefits of genomic testing test include parentage verification and discovery, as well as mate selection.This article discusses how dairy producers in the southeast might benefit by using the 3K genomic test on young calves to inform selection decisions. A simulation study was used to test various fractions of calves with a 3K genomic test (for example all calves, the top 30% if calves were pre-ranked, etc.). The genetic progress of the retained calves, as well as the total cost of testing, and the net value of the test was calculated. When calves were not pre-ranked on genetic merit for NM$, testing more calves increased the average genetic value of the kept calves, as well as the cost of testing per kept calf. Yet, by testing more calves, the increase in genetic value is greater than the increase in the cost of testing. When calves could be pre-ranked for NM$ the value of testing increased as the fraction of calves retained decreased, and testing all calves was not cost effective.