With the weekly genomic evaluation of August 29th, the threshold of 1,000,000 genotyped female Holsteins across 2,159 German dairy herds within the herd genotyping program was crossed. The percentage of herdbook cows owned by the farms participating in herd genotyping has increased to 23.6%. Based on the high rate of herdbook registrations within milk-recording herds, more than 20% of German Holstein cows under official milk recording belong to herds that practice herd genotyping. Since 2016, under the coordination of the German Holstein Association (Bundesverband Rind und Schwein, BRS) and vit, and in cooperation with the laboratory IFN in Schönow, all German Holstein organizations have offered herd genotyping. Besides German dairy farmers, more than 400 herds from other countries use the German genomic system to apply herd genotyping to improve herd management, particularly for replacement and mating management. Together with male animals and genotyped females from Germany and abroad outside herd genotyping, genomic SNP data from more than 1.4 million Holstein cattle is stored in the vit genome database.
In 2016 herd genotyping started as project KuhVision which was limited to 600 farms across Germany. The goal was to create a representative and unbiased cow training population for genomic evaluation including direct health traits. The objective at that time was to genotype 100,000 animals within three years. Information regarding the benefits for management and the lowered costs of genotyping spread among the dairy farmers; as a result, farms not included in the initial project started to adopt herd genotyping within a short time. Today, herd genotyping has become a standard tool in future-oriented dairy farms. The increasing use of beef-on-dairy bulls on Holsteins, and the adoption of sexed Holstein semen requires a robust base to make selection decisions (i.e., genomic breeding values) for all traits. The relatively small investments in genotyping are easily earned back by rearing only the best females. Individual mating advice for all females including heifers, the avoidance of mating carriers of genetic defects, the consideration of polledness, red factor, Beta and Kappa casein, as well as parentage control and discovery have become indispensable parts of modern - that means genomic - herd management.