2015 2-ORG-COWS


The objective of the project is to provide an in-depth evaluation of novel functional traits and associated environmental descriptors as a pre-requisite a) for the implementation of organic breeding strategies for local dual-purpose cattle kept in organic production systems, and b) for preventive livestock health management. Based on an interdisciplinary research design involving the disciplines animal breeding, animal husbandry, animal nutrition, and precision livestock farming, the most relevant European dual-purpose cattle breeds will be evaluated with regard to within and across breed comparisons for novel traits, economic evaluation criteria, for selection signatures and biodiversity, and for different breeding strategies. The overall objective includes both the adaptation of the dual-purpose cow to pasture based systems, and vice versa the adaptation (improvement) of the system for functional (health) traits. The central theme for identical health trait recording across country borders is based on SensOor® technology (ww.agis.nl), which will be implemented in experimental / contract herds. Main target groups include organic, low-input and dual-purpose cattle breeders and participating breeding organizations. Main tasks for the objectives address the following four topics a) production systems, b) novel data recording systems, and c) genetic evaluations, resulting all together in d) optimized breeding program designs, and e) optimized farm management in pasture based systems. In consequence, the following 10 work packages (WP) are included: WP1: Trait recording, WP2: environmental descriptors, WP3: Breed comparisons in local environments, WP4: Genetic evaluations for novel traits, WP5: Identification of breed characteristics, WP6: Economic weights for novel traits, WP7: Breeding goals, WP8: Breeding strategies, WP9: Dissemination of trait recording techniques, WP10: Dissemination of results to organic breeders and breeding organizations.

responsible : Dr. Uwe Richter