Case Studies

Strengthening genomic predictions and increasing reliability

19 July 2019

Agtrac’s logistic and data management experience has been key to CRV Ambreed increasing its genomic reference population database. In time, this database will help farmers’ understanding of their herd’s genetic potential.

 “Agtrac is a proactive partner providing us with practical solutions to scheduling and logistics challenges across the country.”

“Agtrac provides us with a high level of traceability, ensuring we have full confidence in our genomic data. With the level of accuracy we need, that traceability is key.

“We use data to make a lot of decisions, so having confidence in its accuracy is absolutely critical. For the high level of traceability and accuracy that the whole food chain is requiring these days, we are on the right track partnering with Agtrac.”

Katrina Evans, CRV Ambreed

The challenge

CRV Ambreed is developing a large-scale genomic database. This database will unlock better decision-making for farmers around breeding for health, fertility, longevity, production, and A2 beta-casein status.  Farming systems and international markets will also reap rewards.

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To build this unique, robust, predictive powerhouse, CRV Ambreed needed a reference population of DNA samples from a wide range and a large number of dairy cattle from this part of the world.

In 2018, the CRV Ambreed’s challenge was to sample and DNA-test 22,000 cattle in six weeks. They partnered with Agtrac.


The outcome

Agtrac not only successfully sampled and tested 22,000 dairy cattle across New Zealand but the rigour of Agtrac processes helped CRV Ambreed develop a competitive edge. Our audit and collection processes, including on-farm data verification, cleansing and formatting, led to a higher level of traceability and data accuracy compared with mainstream farmer-collected data, such as recording parentage by assumption.

The ambitious 2018 programme was successfully completed. CRV Ambreed is now well on the way to creating a powerful DNA data warehouse with accurate and traceable data.


The future

The success of the 2018 sampling and testing programme for 22,000 dairy cattle led to an extended partnership between Agtrac and CRV Ambreed. Over the 2019 off-season, we partnered again. This time sampling and testing an additional 29,000 dairy cattle from within New Zealand market.

CRV Ambreed has confidence that samples are from known animals, accurately recorded and reliably transferred to the laboratories for genetic profiling. This higher accuracy and traceability translates to a better, more robust service offer for CRV Ambreed and, in time, CRV Ambreed has the ability to develop more fine-tuned breeding options for its customers.


The project

To support its genomic database development, CRV Ambreed selected Agtrac as their key project partner to manage the collection of all animal data and visit multiple farms across New Zealand. On-farm, the Agtrac team took DNA tissue samples from 22,000 dairy cows, linked samples with a verified animal within InSight. Then sent samples to GenomNZ, the DNA laboratory in Dunedin.

Agtrac’s understanding and experience around the logistics of data collection and data recording on-farm meant we could offer a problem-solving approach. We were able to add value through farm data assessments, remote audits, and cleaning and formatting individual animal data prior to stepping on farm. We equipped our skilled technicians with advanced data collection technology (long-reach and long life XRS2 EID readers and barcode scanners connecting wirelessly to data-hungry XR5000 weigh scale indicators). Once on farm, our technicians cross-checked EID records with ear tags and updated herd records.

Together with our people and technical products, we managed a seamless data collection and transfer between CRV Ambreed, the farm and laboratory. This combined approach minimised the manual demands of traditional farm data collection, smoothed out and sped up collection time, significantly lowered error rates – and strengthened CRV Ambreed’s relationship with its farming clients.


Written by Megan Fowlie

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