Farm Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

Plans in place to cut cost of testing

The cost of genomically selecting, or in other words genomically testing, an animal is approximately €140.

Therefore the cost to test all calves, male and females, from a 100-cow herd is approximately €14,000.

The benefit of testing animals is that more information is available on each animal thereby facilitating more informed breeding decisions.

Each animal has the same probability of increasing or decreasing in genetic merit relative to not using genomic selection.

However, improved knowledge of the genetic merit of the animal means that actual performance will be more in line with expected performance.

Therefore, this animal should command a higher sale price compared to a non-genomically tested animal of the same genetic merit.


Nonetheless, the cost of €140 is prohibitively expensive for testing to be undertaken across all animals born within a herd.

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Therefore, Teagasc, Moorepark and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation have evaluated alternative, lower cost methods of genomic selection making genomic selection a reality within the farm gate.

The objective is to reduce the cost of genomic selection so that genomic selection can become a routine part in the registration of animals at birth.

The approach considered was to reduce the number of DNA segments or DNA markers tested per animal resulting in an associated reduction in cost per animal, but hopefully without a large compromise in accuracy of the genomic selection.

Irish Independent