Combatting Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) is a national priority, manifested by the £100 million spent annually on disease surveillance, monitoring and non-genetic control. If accuracies of genomic predictions were improved, genetic improvement could contribute to a long-term reduction of this figure by reducing both infected and infectious animals on farm.
A partnership forged between CIEL and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is taking the dairy industry a step closer to eradicating bTB.
£360,000 funding invested by CIEL, thanks to the support of Innovate UK, has enabled the development of TB Advantage, a genetic index published by AHDB Dairy to help dairy farmers make informed decisions around the breeding of cows which have an improved resistance to bTB.
TB Advantage, developed by the EGENES team at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), is a single step genomic evaluation system that makes optimal use of cow pedigree, TB test scores, abattoir diagnoses and a rich DNA dataset.
The index follows extensive research into the genetics of bTB, undertaken jointly by the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and SRUC. CIEL’s support allowed a far greater number of cattle to be included in the data asset, ensuring TB Advantage delivers the accuracy needed for the tool to be commercially viable.
TB Advantage enables farmers to identify natural resistance traits and make informed decisions about which cattle they choose to breed, depending on their resistance to bTB.