Keeping an eye on inbreeding in your herd is crucial to secure the profitability of your dairy farm. Reduced biological fitness can manifest itself in two ways: genetic defects for monogenic traits and inbreeding depression for production and health traits. Both can lead to loss of profitability in your herd.
Inbreeding can be viewed on two different levels. At the farm level, it is important to monitor inbreeding to avoid a reduction of biological fitness due to monogenetic disorders/diseases and inbreeding depression. Here you can use the inbreeding coefficient of planned matings to keep inbreeding under control on the farm level.
At a population level, high inbreeding trends are related to loss of genetic diversity, which, among other things, influences the prospect of achieving genetics gains from a longer-term perspective. Here, the rate of inbreeding (average level of inbreeding in one time period compared to another time period) is more important to monitor than the inbreeding level itself.
Control inbreeding with VikingHolstein
VikingGenetics is running a responsible breeding scheme for VikingHolstein with a focus on future inbreeding when selecting young AI bulls.
You can control the inbreeding level at your farm by:
- using VikingHolstein genetics
- making mating plans which allow you to set a limit on inbreeding
Both elements are important to avoid inbreeding at the population level in the short-term. However, in the longer-term inbreeding needs primarily to be handled by the AI companies that are responsible for the breeding program.