Third-generation farmer Rory Christie has helped create the world’s first crossbreeding index using genomic information, milk production and herd health data.
Mr Christie, who milks 1,100 spring-calving Jersey cross Holstein cows alongside his brother, Gregor, in South-West Scotland, has been part of a trail-blazing project, led by Professor Mike Coffey at SRUC since its establishment in 2017.
The project involves three other like-minded dairy farmers and is aimed at improving individual cow performance in a grazing environment.
Mr Christie now has an elite group of 500 females that are individually mated to sexed bulls with conception rates hitting 45%+.
Milking cows are weighed automatically two times a day to get accurate liveweight data and this information is now being used to create a maintenance index. This will be available by the end of 2023 alongside a fertility index.
The next step is to understand how genetics influences methane production.
Mr Christie will discuss his involvement in the project and how it has led him to improve milk production by 500 litres per cow per year without increasing cow size or coming at the cost of other important traits.