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World 05.02.2024

Emerging Technologies Revolutionize Dairy Reproduction Management

Source: The DairyNews
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The dairy industry is embracing a new era of technological advancements, particularly in the realm of reproduction and genetics management. These innovations aim to streamline processes and enhance overall production and animal welfare.
Emerging Technologies Revolutionize Dairy Reproduction Management
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Here's a glimpse of some cutting-edge technologies on the horizon:

e-Synch: Developed by Dr. Julio Giordano's lab at Cornell University, e-Synch is an electronic intravaginal device designed for automated control of reproductive hormone delivery. This technology incorporates sensors for monitoring the estrous cycle, representing a significant leap in reproductive management. While still in the early stages of development, proof-of-concept testing has shown promising results. e-Synch's unique approach involves the release of reproductive hormones through the vaginal wall, eliminating the need for intramuscular injections.

Needle-Free Injection Devices (NFID): Long utilized in human medicine, NFID systems are gaining traction in livestock production, including dairy. NFID systems offer benefits such as reduced disease transmission risk, minimal injection site lesions, and lower chances of accidental needle sticks for farmworkers. Ongoing research suggests potential applications of NFID technology for the administration of reproductive hormones in dairy cattle, marking a departure from traditional intramuscular injections.

Genetics of Fertility and Estrus Expression: Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specifically in Francisco Peñagaricano's lab, are delving into the intricate relationship between genetics and fertility. Recent findings indicate a potential interaction between a cow's genetics and changes in a sire's predicted transmitting ability (PTA) rankings based on fertility data. Future genetic evaluations may consider data from timed artificial insemination (AI) and heat detection as distinct traits. Additionally, research highlights the heritability of estrus expression traits, paving the way for their incorporation into future genetic evaluations. Technologies like activity and rumination monitoring systems may facilitate routine measurements of estrus duration and strength, providing valuable data for genetic assessments.

The common thread among these technologies is the emphasis on minimizing interactions with cattle. By adopting less intrusive administration methods and reducing handling, these advancements aim to prioritize the well-being of the animals, allowing them to engage in natural behaviors such as eating, resting, and socializing. The integration of these technologies holds the potential for significant long-term benefits to both production efficiency and animal welfare in the dairy sector.
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Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California
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February 2024
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