Achieving the Perfect Cow For the Future

Agriculture is ever changing and that includes the dairy industry.

Penn State University’s Chad Dechow shares his insights on achieving the perfect cow in the future. He states, “It’s really impressive the amount of potential genetic change that we can make. We could have cows that are plus 30 or 40 thousands pounds for PTA milk, and that would produce 100 to 150 thousand pounds of milk and really high fertility.”

“We don’t even really know, 20 years from now, what will be the main selection goals. Will we still be worried about pounds of fat and protein and fertility, or will we be worried about, rather than protein, the actual types of proteins that we’re making, from a human health standpoint, from a milk processing standpoint,” Dechow notes.

With new and improved technologies, like genomics, coming along at a rapid pace, the next few years and decades hold great potential for dairy cattle genetics. “When we think about the development of new traits, the challenge with our previous system was that we needed millions and millions of records from millions of cows to really do it well,” he states, “Now, if we get data on a large number, not millions of cows, we can still make genetic progress.”

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