Economics of using genomic selection at the farm level

M.P.L. Calus, P. Bijma, J.A.M. van Arendonk, R.F. Veerkamp

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review


Genomic selection is revolutionizing the design of breeding schemes, especially for dairy cattle. The fast uptake of genomic selection is a result of its potential to increase genetic gain considerably at an unprecedented rate by reducing the length of generation intervals up to three times. Predictions indicate that these decreased generation intervals increase genetic gain up to 100%, when implementing genomic selection in dairy cattle breeding schemes. Genomic selection in dairy cattle breeding schemes is currently applied in three of the four different selection pathways; i.e. selection of sires and dams of bulls, and selection of sires of dams. Our objective was to review the potential economic benefit of genomic selection at the level of a dairy farm, by optimization of replacement strategies with or without use of genomic information of the female animals in the dairy herd. In this respect, genomic tests are used as a management tool to support on-farm replacement decisions, rather than as a tool to identify the best animals for breeding purposes. The potential benefit of using genomic tests comes through more accurate selection of the best animals for replacement compared to selection based on their pedigree index. Considered replacement strategies include a range of different selection intensities by considering different numbers of heifers available for replacement as well as different replacement rates. Results include computation of break-even costs for genomic tests for heifers, i.e. the maximum allowed cost per test that justifies their use to support replacement decisions. All comparisons were conducted using selection index theory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 64th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science, 26-30 August 2013, Nantes, France
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Print)9789086862283
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event64th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science, Nantes, France -
Duration: 26 Aug 201330 Aug 2013


Conference64th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science, Nantes, France

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