Caeli Richardson II

Forging research between NZ and Canada

Caeli Richardson from Canada recently came to AbacusBio to work on a project that looks at including feed efficiency and methane yield in national dairy cattle selection indexes for Canada.

Genetics offers a cumulative and permanent solution for problems that producers face every day, which is why Caeli pursued a Master’s in animal breeding and genetics at the University of Guelph, as part of the Efficient Dairy Genome Project in Canada.

She has been working with consultants Peter Amer, Cheryl Quinton, and Fiona Hely at AbacusBio.

Over her three months with us, Caeli developed a model that can estimate the economic value of dry matter intake and associated methane production in Canadian Holstein cattle.

“As the global population and wealth continue to increase, the increased demand for livestock products warrants the need for production efficiency,” Caeli explains.

“Furthermore, as climate change escalates, reduced methane emissions from cattle will be a critical goal as well.”

The model is robust and able to tolerate changes in genetic correlations, feed prices, and trait definitions, which are useful for farmers to maximise their genetic gains.

As part of this project, Caeli also looked at how current traits in the Canadian selection indexes affect emissions intensity.

This information allows us to weigh up the different traits and their effects – whilst at the same time selecting for greater efficiency and gains.

“We found that feed efficiency, milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, and herd life (survival) are the major traits of affecting emissions intensity.”

“My goal is to help create an industry that is efficient and sustainable, and I’m excited by how much impact genetics can help achieve that.”

She has now returned to Canada to embark on a PhD programme at the University of Guelph.