The objective of this study was to demonstrate the potential benefits of computerised mate selection in a commercial crossbred dairy herd of 411 cows mated to 10 Holstein-Friesian and 10 Jersey bulls. Mate selection was carried out using an evolutionary algorithm to perform single- or multiple-objective optimisation to maximise farm profit ($/4.5 t DM) and/or minimise inbreeding level of progeny. Restrictions were placed on the total number of mating pairs, the maximum number of matings per bull and per cow. Selection and mate allocation of bulls and cows at random produced progeny with average farm profit of $94 and inbreeding level of 1.70%. Mate selection applied to maximise farm profit yielded a mating set with an average farm profit of $181 and inbreeding level of 2.07%. Mate selection applied to minimise inbreeding level selected a mating set with average farm profit of $65 and inbreeding level of 0.03%. Mate selection applied to optimise farm profit and minimise level of inbreeding with a weighted ratio of 1:1, resulted in a mating set with average farm profit of $176 and inbreeding level of 0.44%. The results demonstrate that in the short term, inbreeding can be controlled at the same time as maximising farm profit using a computerised mating selection program with multiple-objective optimisation.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 64, Hamilton, 122-126, 2004
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