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U.S. Dairy Progress

CDCB and its many collaborators work diligently to serve dairy producers and be the leading source of genetic information for dairy improvement.

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Genetic Impact on U.S. Dairy

Genetic selection is an important tool to improve dairy farm productivity, profitability, and sustainability. U.S. dairy farms are producing more milk from fewer cows, which has significantly reduced dairy’s carbon footprint and use of inputs, land, water, and other natural resources. Improved genetics account for at least one-half of the gains in milk, fat and protein yield over the last 50 years. Genetic selection also provides tools to improve cow health, well-being and feed efficiency, through several related and specific traits. These tools are available to dairy producers around the world, as U.S. genetic evaluations are highly respected and U.S.-produced dairy genetics are exported to 120 countries each year.

U.S. Genetic Milestones

The United States has a long legacy of research, data collection, animal identification, progeny testing and evaluation development that provides a strong foundation. In the spirit of continuous improvement and collaboration, U.S dairy genetics evolve to utilize the latest knowledge and technology, while needing the needs of modern dairy operations.

1905

First milk recording organization began in U.S.

1994

Net Merit $ index developed by USDA, combining fitness, conformation, and production traits.

2009

U.S. genomic evaluations for dairy males and females became available to producers worldwide.

2023

8 million genotypes recorded in the National Cooperator Database, the largest of its kind.

The Genomic Revolution

Genomic selection has revolutionized dairy cattle breeding, from dairy farms to A.I. organizations, service providers and evaluation centers. The broad adoption of genotyping and genomic selection has resulted in tremendous genetic gains, more accurate and earlier prediction of animals’ genetic merit, and fundamental changes in herd culling and breeding strategies. Genotyping has also expedited the development of new, economically-important traits, especially those that are difficult and expensive to measure.

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