Integrating genomic approaches to improve dairy cattle resilience: A comprehensive goal to enhance Canadian dairy industry sustainability
Dairy is one of Canada’s most important and dynamic industries. In 2015, the dairy sector contributed roughly $19.9 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). This project aims to use genomic tools to develop new datasets and genomic tools in order to develop a more ‘resilient’ cow, i.e. an animal able to adapt rapidly to changing environmental conditions, without compromising its productivity, health or fertility. A set of new genomic breeding tools for the dairy producers and the artificial insemination industry will be implemented based on a novel selection index for resilience, which will include novel traits related to fertility, health and environmental efficiency (feed efficiency and methane emission). The new index for resilience will allow farmers to reduce costs related to poor cow fertility, diseases and animal feed, and a more accurate selection for increased fertility, broader disease resistance and environmental efficiency. This will result in benefits, not only to Canada’s dairy industry, but will help address global food security and sustainability.