Dairy producers and genetic enthusiasts are invited to participate in the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) industry meeting on Nov. 2, which will focus on feed efficiency, genetic selection and impacts on sustainability. Meeting participants will have an early opportunity to understand the collaborative data collection, genetic methodology and expected results for the new trait, Feed Saved, being launched by CDCB with Dec. 1 genetic evaluations.

This annual meeting – the sixth for CDCB – will be held virtually on Monday, Nov. 2, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. EST. Attendees may register here to participate via Zoom.

With feed generally accounting for one-half of total dairy farm costs, the ability to genetically select for feed efficiency has been a long-time goal.

“There is tremendous potential to improve feed efficiency through genomics and genetic selection,” said João Dürr, CDCB chief executive officer. “It’s a ‘win-win’ for producers and for dairy customers who expect more sustainable milk and animal proteins. Genetic selection for Feed Saved can improve farmer profitability and help reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of the dairy industry. We can make the same amount of milk with less feed and fewer natural resources to produce that crop.”

Along with Feed Saved, CDCB will introduce Heifer Livability and six new genomic type traits on Dec. 1.


The Nov. 2 meeting will be opened by CDCB Chair Neal Smith, of the American Jersey Cattle Association. Three renowned geneticists – Dr. Kent Weigel, Dr. Paul VanRaden and Dr. Kristen Parker Gaddis – will start the conversation with brief presentations on the research, data collection, genetic methodology and expected results for the new Feed Saved trait. Weigel, VanRaden, and Parker Gaddis will then answer audience questions on a panel moderated by Dr. John B. Cole of USDA’s Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory (AGIL).

Dr. Frank Mitloehner will share insights on consumer and dairy customer expectations, connecting the approaches that dairy producers and processors are utilizing for continuous improvement in environmental impact.

Mitloehner will be joined by Corey Geiger, Lloyd Holterman and Dr. Juan Tricarico in a panel discussion to unpack the improvement opportunities through genetic selection, productivity gains and other approaches. Corey Geiger is managing editor of Hoard’s Dairyman, president of Holstein Association USA and a current member of the CDCB board of directors. Lloyd Holterman is chair of the CDCB Producer Advisory Committee, owner of Rosy Lane Holsteins and recipient of a national award in April for Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability. Juan Tricarico is vice president of sustainability research at Dairy Management Inc., Rosemont, Illinois.

The agenda for the Nov. 2 meeting (2:00-4:00 p.m. EST) is as follows:

  • Welcome, Neal Smith, CDCB Chair
  • Genetics of feed efficiency, Kent Weigel, University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Feed Saved methodology, Paul VanRaden, USDA AGIL
  • Feed Saved results, Kristen Parker Gaddis, CDCB geneticist
  • Panel and Q&A: New Feed Saved trait
    Kent Weigel, Paul VanRaden and Kristen Parker Gaddis, moderated by John Cole, USDA AGIL
  • Sustainability expectations for U.S. and global dairy, Frank Mitloehner, University of California – Davis
  • Panel and Q&A: Importance of genetic tools to improve sustainability of dairy
    Frank Mitloehner, Corey Geiger, Lloyd Holterman and Juan Tricarico, moderated by João Dürr, CDCB
  • Closing remarks, João Dürr, CDCB CEO

All dairy producers, industry members and genetic enthusiasts are invited to register here for the Nov. 2 meeting. Questions about CDCB or the industry meeting can be directed to CDCB Chief Operating Officer, João Dürr.  end mark

—From a Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding news release