Effective April 1st , 2013, there will be open access to breeders for genotyping any herdbook registered male, as has been the case since November 2008 for cows and heifers. Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) and Holstein Canada have collaborated to achieve maximum efficiency and ease to Canadian producers and A.I. organizations.
When considering the multitude of options for allowing open access to genotyping bulls in Canada, the CDN Board of Directors agreed on some key underlying principles. First and foremost, it is understood that genomics will continue to have a major impact on genetic selection programs and this technology should therefore be widely available and actively encouraged. Secondly, the Canadian genetic evaluation system is highly recognized nationally and internationally so the availability of GLPI values must be promoted. Lastly, for the past 15 years genetic evaluation services in Canada have been totally industry funded (80% by A.I. organizations and 20% by breed associations) so equity in fees must be maintained between A.I. versus privately owned bulls.
Genotyping Procedures and Fees
Holstein Canada currently provides genotyping services for heifers and cows in the Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss and Ayrshire breeds. Genomic tests currently available include (a) the basic “Low Density” (known as LD) panel with 6,000 SNPs, (b) an upgraded low density panel (known as LD-Plus or LD+) with 9,000 SNPs including the test for red coat colour in Holsteins plus various genetic recessive tests, and (c) the standard 50K panel with roughly 50,000 SNPs. Fees to Canadian producers for these three genotyping services are currently $45 for LD, $60 for LD+ and $135 for 50K, while an additional fee of $15 applies for foreign animals requested to be genotyped through Holstein Canada.
Effective April 1st, 2013, Holstein Canada will also accept genotyping requests for males with the procedures and fees being identical to those established for females. In addition, the current policy (excluding the GenoID program) that only animals registered in the herdbook can be genotyped will also be extended to males. Breeder owned bulls born in Canada must be genotyped through the Holstein Canada service for inclusion in genomic evaluations in Canada and optionally the United States, whereas bulls born in the United States must be genotyped through services in that country. Males from countries outside of North America may also be genotyped through Holstein Canada with applicable fees.
Official Status and Publication of Genomic Evaluations
For genotyped females in Canada, the ongoing practise will continue such that CDN will freely release an official genomic evaluation including GLPI at the time of the first monthly release that includes their qualifying genotype with an automatic update at each subsequent official genetic evaluation release in April, August and December of each year. For females, the official status of their genomic evaluation means it will appear openly on the CDN and breed association web sites and can be used broadly in accordance with the Canadian Dairy Industry Publishing Code of Ethics.
On the male side, attaining official status for their GLPI will require the payment of a fixed rate fee to CDN, which equates to the average cost per bull that AI member organizations are expected to be paying for CDN genetic and genomic evaluation services. Therefore, once a privately owned young bull is genotyped through the Holstein Canada service and the associated fees including herdbook registration are paid, then CDN will provide to Holstein Canada the Canadian-based genomic evaluation details including its GLPI. For Holstein breeders, the Genomic Evaluation Report will be electronically posted on the owner’s Member internet account for access and printing and regularly updated until the bull reaches 12 months of age. For bull owners for other breeds, Holstein Canada will provide the same report to the respective breed association for passing along to the owner. It is important to note that such genomic evaluations will not be considered official in the CDN database and will therefore not be displayed on the CDN web site nor included on listings or transferred to breed associations for presentation on pedigrees, etc. The main purpose of providing such an “unofficial” genomic evaluation for genotyped bulls is to allow the owner to make decisions related to marketing, sale to an A.I. organization, private semen collection and promotion or even culling, depending on the superiority or inferiority of the young bull.
In the case whereby the private owner of a genomically tested young bull reaches an agreement with an A.I. member organization of CDN and the control of marketing rights is transferred to that A.I. organization, no additional payments to CDN are required by the breeder. The CDN genetic and genomic evaluation fees for such bulls will ultimately be covered by the A.I. organization that is a member of CDN. If no agreement is reached with an A.I. member organization of CDN and the owner wants an official GLPI and associated genomic evaluation in Canada, then payment of the established fee, which has been set at $7,500 per bull, must be received by CDN prior to the bull reaching 12 months of age. For privately owned bulls that surpass 12 months of age without payment of the CDN fee for official status, the provision of all genomic evaluation services will cease and only traditional Parent Average values will be available for official documents and web site queries. For genomically tested bulls that reach three years of age without having more than 20 registered daughters born in Canada, CDN will officially release their Canadian-based genomic evaluation including GLPI at all subsequent official genetic evaluation releases in Canada.
Situation in the United States
Discussions within the dairy cattle improvement industry in the United States indicate an expected transition of genetic and genomic evaluation calculations away from the federal government (USDA) and towards an industry organization. This privatization of such services in the United States will also come with associated fees that are expected to be applied to genotyped bulls, cows and heifers. Therefore, also effective in early 2013 will be the implementation of a new fee structure in the United States for breeders and A.I. organizations to receive GTPI values and other associated genomic evaluations. For Canadian breeders, this will mean a change to procedures for receiving a GTPI value for genotyped females and males through Holstein Canada but it is intended that Holstein Canada and CDN will continue collaborating to make this process as efficient and easy as possible.
The CDN Board of Directors has established a new fee structure applicable to breeder-owned young bulls that can be genotyped through Holstein Canada services starting in April 2013. To encourage as much male and female genotyping as possible in Canada, the fees applicable to females will be extended to registered males. Resulting GLPI values and associated genomic evaluations will automatically be made available to the bull owners on an unofficial basis until the bull reaches 12 months of age. For bulls without a transfer of ownership and/or semen controlling rights to an A.I. organization member of CDN, a payment of $7,500 must be received
by CDN prior to the bull reaching 12 months of age in order for the GLPI and genomic evaluations to be officially released by CDN on its web site and transferred to the breed association for official pedigrees and other documents or queries.