Type: Chapter

Genetic selection for dairy cow welfare and resilience to climate change


Jennie E. Pryce

Agriculture Victoria

Yvette de Haas

Wageningen UR

Publication date:

31 March 2017

ID: 9781786760524-004

E-Chapter format

£25.00 excluding tax
Request Permissions


Narrow breeding goals focused on milk production traits have been detrimental to the reproductive performance and health of dairy cattle. There is, therefore, a need to develop breeding strategies that balances both production and non-production traits. In this chapter, we discuss the principles behind breeding goals and multi-trait selection. We review practices of selecting for milk production, energy balance and fertility, and then consider newer breeding objectives such as health traits, reducing the environment impact of dairy cattle and ensuring that cattle will be able to endure a changing climate. Finally, we discuss the use of modern genomic selection and gene-editing techniques.

Table of contents

1 Introduction
2 Selection indices
3 Selection for milk production, energy balance and fertility
4 New breeding objectives: health traits
5 New breeding objectives: dairy cows and climate change
6 Genomic selection, inbreeding and gene editing
7 Summary
8 Where to look for further information
9 Acknowledgements
10 References