CIEL | News: Insect-based food project expands at Aberystwyth University

The largest UK study of its kind aims to enhance breeding for feed efficient dairy cows.

Feed accounts for around half of the operating costs in dairy production and improving feed efficiency, without sacrificing milk production or animal health, could save the industry millions of pounds a year.

The research project, led by Bingjie Li at SRUC, could also mitigate methane emissions from cattle, contributing to the reduced environmental footprint of the dairy population.

Based on newly generated data and the 50-year longitudinal database at SRUC’s Dairy Research Centre, it will use innovative methods to provide novel and comprehensive knowledge of genomic and regulatory variants underlying feed efficiency, informing large-scale genetic improvement of dairy cattle.

Bingjie, an SRUC Challenge Research Fellow, said: “This is the largest population-level study of its kind in the UK on dairy feed efficiency, and will empower sustainable dairy breeding for feed efficient and environmentally friendly animals.

“The dairy industry is worth about £703bn globally and £9.2bn in the UK. Research outcome from this project has the potential to deliver at least 1 per cent extra genetic progress for UK dairy industry, worth millions of pounds per year for the UK dairy industry and notifying dairy breeding worldwide.”

The three-year project is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Responsive Mode – New Investigator Award.

Original news source: SRUC

Breeding for feed-efficient dairy cows