Many dairy producers are technologically savvy and seek out tools to help them better manage their herds. On the genetic front, the CDN website is one such tool, highly utilized by those keen on monitoring and querying genetic data. The inbreeding calculator, which provides inbreeding levels and Parent Averages (PA) for potential progeny from various matings, is one of the website’s most frequently used features. When looking to breed any given female, the inbreeding calculator can be accessed one of three ways:
- From the “Calculators” drop down found in the grey left-hand sidebar of the CDN website.
- From the “Inbreeding Calculator” link found above an Active List of females. An Active List of females can be generated by performing a Group Query, or you can target females with the same prefix, as covered in the example below.
- By clicking on the “Inbreeding” tab displayed at the top of any page for the female of interest, which then pre-populates the Inbreeding Calculator with the female’s registration number.
Using the Inbreeding Calculator for Females with Your Prefix
In the first Tips & Tricks article of this series, readers learned how to enter their prefix in the Individual Animal Query to bring up a list of animals they have bred. Using the Selection Refinement Filter, results can be further reduced to only include active females by clicking the “Active Only” option.
Using the prefix “Ste Odile” – the highest LPI herd in August 2018 as an example – here are the steps to use the inbreeding calculator with a list of females with a common prefix and a male of interest:
- Select the Individual Animal Query.
- In the “Search by Name” box, select “Holstein” and “Female” and type “Ste Odile” into the empty field. Submit the query and you will be brought to the resulting Active List of females.
- To refine the list to only include Active females, select “Query Refinement Filter” and check the box next to “Active Only.” At this point you can also refine the female list by entering evaluation thresholds, as well as sort the list by a trait other than LPI by using the “Sort results by” dropdown at the bottom, if desired. Once you submit the Query Refinement Filter settings, you will be brought back to an updated Active List of females as seen below.
- From here, choose the red “Inbreeding Calculator” link. By default, “Use the active list” will be selected in the “Select Female(s)” section, as seen below. Under “Select Male(s)”, choose “Individual” and fill in the registration number for a sire of interest. Remember to change the country if the bull in question has a country code other than Canada as part of their registration number. In this case, the #1 proven sire for LPI and Pro$, Mr Mogul Delta-1427-ET, was used. Hit “Continue” to see the Inbreeding Calculator Report.
The top of the report shows the sire information and his genetic evaluations for a select number of traits. Below is a list of all of the potential female mates ranked in order of LPI. Accompanying these potential mates are the inbreeding levels and parent averages for potential progeny for a given female mated to the selected sire, Delta. Select “Download results to Excel” to find and sort traits by parent averages for additional traits beyond those listed in the Inbreeding Calculator Report.
Breeders can use this report to help them select a mate for the animal of interest. The inbreeding percentage (%INB) should be used to eliminate potential mates that lead to a %INB deemed too high by the breeder. While comfort levels for %INB may vary, most A.I. mating programs set a default threshold of 9% to eliminate mating suggestions that lead to a %INB greater than this level. After eliminating potential mates based on %INB, the Parent Averages for the resulting progeny from each potential mate should be considered. Ultimately, the combination of the highest Parent Averages and an acceptable level of inbreeding should lead to the selection of the most desirable mate.
The example illustrated in the screenshot above allows the user to determine which female would be the best mate for the bull Delta. The tool can also be used to easily look at results for various potential sires by clicking the button “Select Top Sire Group”, as an alternative under “Select Male(s)” mentioned in point 4 above, and then selecting from among the bull names listed. A third possible way to use the inbreeding calculator is to enter the registration numbers for a given female and male, and examine the values on an individual mating basis.
In the previous two Tips & Tricks articles the Animal Query, the Group Query and the Selection Refinement Filter were covered. These tools, in combination with the Inbreeding Calculator described in this article, put genetic information at your fingertips in order to help facilitate the breeding decision process.