Upgrading dairy cattle evaluation system in Russian Federation.

Andrei Andreevich Kudinov


Russian Federation has a strong initiative to increase milk production and to meet increasing demand for dairy products. Typically dairy farms in the Leningrad region are large, e.g. have from 500 up to 2 100 cows. The average 305d production in 2015 was 8 331 kg milk, but the top herd had an average milk yield over 12 000 kg. Accurate selection of the next generation parents is a prerequisite for genetic improvement. Currently the prediction of breeding values of dairy cattle in Russian Federation is based on contemporary comparison following the instructions by the Ministry of Agriculture of USSR published in 1980. The contemporary comparison approach estimates breeding values for bulls only. Animal model BLUP can be expected to give less biased and more accurate estimates of breeding values.

Implementation of the animal model and genomic selection in the future requires farmers support. In order to demonstrate to the farmers the benefits of using cow EBVs in within herd selection and mating plans, a new animal model evaluation utilizing already collected phenotypic data from Russian Black and White and Holstein cattle in the Leningrad region was developed. The pedigree had 452 622 animals and the data had 356 907 repeated records from 320 798 cows. Breeding values were predicted for milk, fat and protein productions using repeatability animal model with variance components estimated by REML. The results were compared to EBVs from the old evaluation system. Until now 450 bulls and 1 100 cows have been genotyped using Illumina 50Kv2 and IDBv3 chips to enhance the development of the genomic prediction.


genomic selection; BLUP AM; Russian dairy industry; evaluation methods

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