Selecting the most climate-smart cattle through genomics

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Source: Genome Canada

Genomics can help dairy farmers choose cattle stocks that increase milk production while also reducing methane emissions, which present a significant greenhouse gas challenge for the industry.

Around 30% of the anthropogenic methane production globally comes from dairy and beef agriculture.

Genome Canada funded a team from Alberta and Ontario that is employing genomics-­based approaches to select for cattle with the genetic traits needed for more efficient feed conversion and lower methane emissions. Farmers will save money (feed is the single largest expense in milk production), and Canada’s already lucrative dairy industry will become more competitive. The industry’s environmental footprint will also be reduced, due to lower methane emissions and because more feed-efficient animals produce less manure waste. A consortium of industry organizations and international partners have implemented project findings so that research seamlessly integrates into farming practices.

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