Holstein Friesian NZ (HFNZ) is pleased to launch its Open Genomic Testing Service in conjunction with Weatherbys Scientific from Ireland.

This service in the first instance will be open to all members of Holstein Friesian NZ. Members will be able to genomically test any animal in their herd, free from restrictions, while at the same time receiving DNA parentage verification and a selected range of health tests on request.

Farmers testing animals through the HFNZ Open Genomic Testing service will receive and own all the information related to the tests that they have paid for. While this information will be stored by HFNZ, there will be no restrictions on the use of this data.

What is Genomic Testing?

Genomics are another tool to be used along with phenotypic data to help farmers identify animals in their herd that have the greatest genetic potential. Testing can identify and develop important traits such as longevity and fertility.

Genomic test results can be confidently used to make better breeding decisions to match breeding goals and improve the rate of genetic gain within individual herds.

Who are Weatherbys Scientific?

Weatherbys is a privately-owned family business, which has been operating successfully since 1770. As well as now providing world-class genotyping, their core business is responsible for UK Racing Administration, as well as continuing their role of registering all thoroughbred horses in Britain and Ireland within The General Stud Book. Weatherbys also manages a range of profitable commercial activities, which include race card production, traditional and digital bloodstock publishing, pedigree analysis, racing industry data services, and event ticketing.

In Ireland, Weatherbys Scientific runs a laboratory service which has provided a range of multi-species tests to an international client base over the last 30 years. More recently, Weatherbys Scientific has become a worldwide center of excellence in animal genotyping, especially in the ruminant sector and is currently conducting over 1 million cattle DNA tests as part of its expanding portfolio of work.

Weatherbys Scientific has achieved significant technical milestones – it is an institutional member of the scientific body of the International Society of Animal Genetics (ISAG) and it is also accredited by the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR). The laboratory is also approved with Propel certification by Illumina, and has been selected as an Illumina Beta testing laboratory for new technologies. The Laboratory is ISO17025 accredited by INAB for Bovine and Ovine SN

Weatherbys Scientific is proud of its heritage and its reputation for customer service excellence. Today it has established ambitious growth plans and is undertaking investments in technology and its people to help drive expansion, efficiency and future profitability. 

What Genomic Breeding Values will I receive?

In New Zealand there is no one genomic platform currently available to farmers, therefore under this service the samples will be coordinated by HFNZ and sent to Weatherbys Scientific in Ireland for genotyping.  The raw genotypes are then sent to an evaluation centre of the farmers choice for reporting.

The options for reporting the data will be through:

  • DataGene, Australia – meaning the farmer will receive Australian genomic breeding values (ABV(g)s)
  • CDCB, USA – meaning the farmer will receive Net Merit Index and breeding values, or farmers can pay a minimal additional fee per animal and receive TPI(g).

Results will be supplied for each sample/animal submitted. Farmers will also be able to select a range of other tests that they require i.e. A2, polled etc. These test will be at an additional cost per animal.

On top of the genomic breeding values the farmer will receive DNA parentage verification for each animal submitted.* This DNA parentage verification data will then be submitted by Holstein Friesian NZ to LIC for inclusion on their database to confirm parentage and will show on the farmers Minda records.

*DNA parentage verification will only be possible if the sire and/or dam are profiled with DataGene or CDCB. Both evaluation centres currently have an extensive range of overseas sire profiles, but very limited NZ sire profiles.

How do I submit samples for Genomic Testing?

Farmers will collect and send their samples to the HFNZ office with the application form indicating their preferred evaluation centre and any additional tests requested. The samples will need to be either hair samples or wet tissues samples (tsu).

The 2019 dates for farmers to submit samples for testing are:

  • 12 August 2019
  • 16 September 2019
  • 14 October 2019
  • 11 November 2019

From the close off date for accepting samples, the farmer should see the results in approximately 8 weeks.

Farmers looking to genotype animals in their herd through the HFNZ Open Genomic Testing Service, will ideally be looking to do animals from an overseas background i.e. 2-3 generations of overseas breeding will provide more reliable results.

What will it cost me to genomically test an animal?

DNA parentage verification in New Zealand on average costs a farmer around $37.00 per animal*.  HFNZ and Weatherbys Scientific have combined to offer NZ farmers a special introductory pricing offer as follows.  All prices are inclusive of DNA parentage verification and exclusive of GST.  This pricing will only be available until the end of 2019.

*Not including the LIC whole herd option.

Introductory Pricing for 2019:

All costs quoted below are per animal.

  • 50K chip genotype, DataGene DNA parentage verification & evaluation resultsNZ$ 59.65
  • 50K chip genotype, CDCB DNA parentage verification & evaluation results (females only)NZ$ 52.95
  • 50K chip genotype, CDCB DNA parentage verification & evaluation results (bulls >15mths) NZ$ 367.95

    *Pricing for bulls over 15 months of age is available on request

Other additional tests available:

(These tests can be requested at the same time and done from the same sample)

  • Add TPI(g) – CDCB onlyNZ$ 2.00
  • Add A2 testingNZ$ 14.00
  • Add PolledNZ$ 34.00
  • Add Health Test - package 1NZ$ 16.75
  • Add Health Test - package 2NZ$ 33.50

All animals genomically tested through the HFNZ Open Genomic Testing Service will be registered free of charge under the introductory pricing offer.