Sorting through dairy heifer genomics information

The Heifer Genomics Guide allows dairy producers to access genomic data in an easy-to-use format when making heifer management decisions.

Dairy herds that use genomic testing achieve increases in the reliabilities of genetic estimates for their heifers. Based on information presented at Michigan State University Extension workshops in February, the reliabilities of heifer genomic evaluations for production traits are approximately 30 percentage units higher than reliabilities of genetic estimates calculated from parent averages only.

Accessing genomic data in an easy-to-use format is important when making heifer management decisions. The Heifer Genomics Guide (DHI-428) is available to dairy producers that have genomic-tested heifers and whose DHIA (Dairy Herd Information Association) records are processed by Dairy Records Management Systems (DRMS). Genomic test results flow monthly from the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) to DRMS.

The Heifer Genomics Guide provides lists for four groups of heifers. The report contains animal identification, birthdate, sire and maternal grandsire identification as well as parent averages or genomic PTAs (predicted transmitting abilities) for Merit $, milk, protein, somatic cell score, productive life, daughter pregnancy rate and type.

Criteria used to generate each list correspond to the types of management decisions relevant to the specific heifer cohort group.

The Heifer Genomics Guide (DHI-428) is available on a monthly or quarterly basis. More information about this report can be obtained from the herd’s DHI information specialist or technician.

Genomic testing increases the reliability of genetic rankings of dairy heifers. The Heifer Genomics Guide (DHI-428) from DRMS enables dairy producers to efficiently use genomics information to make heifer management decisions.