Interbull Technical Workshop 2023 Overview of the New Traits Session
New phenotypes have been systematically collected by national genetic centres, often leading to implementation of national genetic evaluation for several economically important dairy traits. However, the MACE portfolio has remained fixed to seven publishable trait groups since workability (including milking speed and temperament traits), was added in 2009. Streamlining the procedure for identifying new suitable traits for the MACE portfolio has been identified as a key goal in the 2020-2023 Interbull strategic plan. The first stage to achieve such objective is surveying the available data across countries on a more routinely basis: countries could be on different stages of data collection, research or development of national evaluation, and that there could be also differences in the above stages per breed.
Information about national genetic evaluations for traits included in MACE evaluations have, for several decades, been collected and published on the Interbull Centre website in the form of word or pdf documents. In 2022, with the introduction of the Performance Recording, Evaluation and Publication database (PREPdb), electronic forms, rather than flat files, were developed for collecting such information. The “Other Traits” form, dedicated to traits not (yet) included in international evaluations, was also introduced. Prior to the Interbull Technical Workshop held in Rome in February 2023, Interbull Centre encouraged all its members to fill in the Other Traits form with as much information on additional traits they record nationally as possible. The aim was to identify possible new trait(s) to include in the Interbull portfolio. Upon review of the information collected, gestation length, retained placenta and milk fever/hypercalcemia were identified as the most frequently reported traits, and were chosen as the traits to be further discussed during the workshop’s session. This report provides an overview of the discussion that took place both during the panel session and the groups’ discussion that characterised the workshop’s session on new traits.
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