How does inbreeding develop in the era of genomic selection? A recent study shows how the Nordic Holstein population could keep levels of inbreeding constant after shifting to the genomic era.
In 2020 the World Holstein Frisian Federation (WHFF) collected information about the development of inbreeding coefficients for cows and heifers from 26 countries worldwide, including Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.
This information is collected in a presentation, which should had been given at the planned WHFF World
Congress in August 2020 but is available on the WHFF website instead.
The increases in inbreeding level (% units) per year are shown for different birth year periods of females for some of the largest Holstein populations in the world and the three Nordic Holstein populations.
The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) recommends that increases in inbreeding level should be less than 1% per generation.
That means that if the generation interval for dairy cattle today is four years, then annual increases in inbreeding should be below 0.25% units per year to meet that recommendation.
The table shows that some countries have been close to, or slightly above, that threshold over the last ten years.