It's All In the Genes: Designing and Administering a Brief Survey to Local Dairymen In Order to Gauge their Interest In Genomics
One of the newest technologies available for agricultural use is the sequencing of the bovine genome and the identification of specific genes that would ensure favorable physical traits in the herd. An easy way for this technology to be utilized is in the milking herds of dairies, the herd has already been bred for specific traits and any change due to a genomic influence would be easily seen. Dairy cattle are commonly bred through artificial insemination, and this would be a perfect place for the genomic programs to prove themselves. In order to determine the attitudes of local dairymen toward genomics, I designed and administered a survey to gauge their opinions. The survey was given to a meeting of the United Dairymen of Arizona at their Tempe offices. The survey covered the current breeding methods used by the dairies, the desired attributes in a milking herd and a breeding program, and a place for the dairymen to give their own opinions on genomics. The results indicated that the dairymen are interested of using genomics, but they are unsure of the cost. Dairymen are often looking for new methods to increase their milk production and herd value, but are reluctant to pay a high amount. One recommendation is for these dairymen to utilize bulls that have had their genome analyzed when they are breeding their cows. This would allow the dairymen to see the effects and benefits of genomics on their herd without the dairymen having to front the large start up cost for their own genomic program.