NMR genomics service to launch from UK laboratory

Dairy breeders eyeing the benefits of genomic herd testing when selecting herd replacements will be able to choose a new UK-based genomics provider in March.

National Milk Records (NMR) has confirmed it will test dairy females at its laboratory at Four Ashes, Wolverhampton, this spring after an initial £400,000 investment in the site.

Richard Miller, NMR genomics manager, said the approximate cost of the service – called GeneEze – would be about £20/test for larger volumes.

The service will be official launched at Dairy-Tech online in February.

Initially, only Holsteins will be analysed, but GeneEze will be extended to other breeds later this year. 

See also: 6 tips on using genomics in your dairy herd

How the test works

The service will use tissue samples, either through ear puncturing kits or via Nordic Star UK identification tags.

Mr Miller explained that these tests give a result 99.6% of the time, adding that NMR can also work with hair samples but these are less reliable (80-85%).

Test results from the GeneEze UK laboratory will be processed by AHDB Dairy, and resulting evaluations will be available on the AHDB Herd Genetic Report site and the NMR Herd Companions site.

Mr Miller said NMR would continue to act as an agent for the genomics arm of US animal health giant Zoetis in the UK.

He said GeneEze would provide a slightly more streamlined and lower cost option for UK dairies. Genetic samples will be handled by GeneEze in a UK lab, rather than the Zoetis system which uses US labs.

“Our UK testing site brings greater simplicity and efficiency to genomic services on offer to producers,” said Mr Miller.

“We will integrate it with our other testing, recording and data management and reporting resources, and be able to offer producers, particularly those recording with NMR, a more streamlined genomic testing service.”