Beginning in April, Canadian dairy producers will be able to compare the methane efficiency ratings of their dairy cattle.
Lactanet Canada is launching the first-ever national genetic evaluation for methane efficiency, and the trait will be added to the list of traits evaluated for the Holstein breed. These genetic evaluations are used by Canadian producers when making herd management and breeding decisions.
The addition of a methane efficiency trait comes one year after the Dairy Farmers of Canada announced its goal to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from farm-level production by 2050.
Measuring and benchmarking the methane efficiency trait was made possible through two large-scale international projects led by Canadian researchers. These major initiatives were funded in part by Genome Canada, as well as the provincial genome centres and ministries. It was then evaluated by the University of Guelph dairy research facility at Elora, Ont.
“Lactanet is very proud to make Canada the first country worldwide to introduce genetic evaluations to help our industry reduce methane emissions from dairy herds across the country,” says Lactanet CEO, Neil Petreny. “This significant accomplishment was made possible by our team of world class geneticists. Their efforts were supported by the vision of the milk recording founding partners of Lactanet to collect and store mid-infrared (MIR) spectral data from millions of milk samples over the past five years.”
The genetic selection tool is expected to result in a 20 to 30 per cent reduction in methane emissions from a herd by 2050, without negatively affecting production levels.