subject: livestock

Dairy’s Value for Samburu Children

Dairy’s Value for Samburu Children

Over the last several decades, environmental changes and political pressures have forced many pastoralist populations, such as the Samburu of Kenya, to abandon their nomadic herding lifestyle for one focused more on agriculture. In addition to becoming more sedentary, these populations have decreased their livestock holdings, and with that, their milk consumption. What does this dramatic shift in livelihood mean for the health of a population with such a long history of milk dependence? Read More...

The Search for Dairy Genes

The Search for Dairy Genes

The original practice of applying personal preferences for selection evolved into a modern and sophisticated science. The latest genetic tools to apply to this science are “personalized” individual animal genome sequences and SNP genotyping arrays. These same tools are being used to evaluate the genetic makeup of existing breeds with dairy breeds, specifically Holstein-Friesian, as a reference point. Read More...

Farms Feel the Heat

Farms Feel the Heat

For many regions of the world home to large dairy herds, climate change models predict substantial shifts in the environment. These shifts look likely to harm milk production. The hunt is on, therefore, to define the causal mechanisms by which climatic variations lower milk yields and to figure out ways to keep the cattle of the future comfortable. Read More...

Genes for More Proteinaceous Milk

Genes for More Proteinaceous Milk

The world of cattle breeding is one of extremes. With the help of the international postal service, humans have skewed the genetics of the rich world’s cattle herds so much that even the most polygynous elephant seal couldn’t keep up. Just two bulls, ‘Pawnee Farm Arlinda Chief’ (Chief, born in 1962) and his son, ‘Walkway Chief Mark’ (Mark, born 1978), have no fewer than 60,000 daughters between them in Australia, plus countless others elsewhere. This is a blessing for detectives of milk genetics for it makes the task of correlating milk output with complex genomic features much cheaper than it would otherwise be. Read More...