Holstein male calves to be genomic tested from 2021

From January 2021 male calves being registered will require a genomic test
From January 2021 male calves being registered will require a genomic test

All UK born Holstein male calves registered from 1 January 2021 will be required to have a genomic test, Holstein UK has announced.

The test will be used to increase the accuracy and verification of parentage as a way to improve the breed's integrity, the body explained.

The new process aims to remove the need for multiple DNA sampling of male calves and provide more accurate genetic evaluations for young bulls.

Holstein UK said the test would also provide future sire genomic profiles for genomic parentage tests.

The move will replace the existing DNA process, and dams of calves will be required to be genomic tested if they do not currently have a UK genomic evaluation.

"The only exceptions will be if the sire of the calf does not have a UK genomic evaluation or if a foreign ET dam does not have a UK genomic profile," Holstein UK said.

"In those cases, the male calf can undergo the existing (microsatellite) DNA test and if the member also wants a genomic test, that will be charged separately and cannot be used for parentage verification."

The breed society added that members should continue to register male calves in the usual way.

"They will then automatically be sent a sampling kit for the calf and if required for the dam also," the group said.

"In the case of UK based ET dams, where the dam may not be owned by the member, the kit will be sent to the registered owner."

Holstein UK added: "The cost of the male calf test will remain at £32.50 + VAT and if required a further £23.00 +VAT for the dam.

"If samples are successfully processed at the lab, then parentage results will be available in 6 to 8 weeks."