REDX – Health, antibiotics and animal welfare

REDX – Health, antibiotics and animal welfare


I am interested in animal welfare and invite veterinarian Vilde to come to the farm and have a chat over a coffee. We have Norwegian Red on our farm, and I ask what this technology has to do with health in cows and breeding in general. I must first say that Norwegian Red is already a very healthy and fertile breed but when you use REDX on your herd you speed up the introduction of new female animal offspring, that are genetically good female offspring. We would also like to reduce the use of antibiotics. We are very focused on antibiotics use now to prevent the build up of antibiotic resistance. Because when you breed animals who have natural disease resistance, so will you naturally contribute to the reduction of medical intervention in the future? Yes, because you breed even healthier animals than what you have today. Animal welfare, does this have any practical significance? Yes, if your animals are sick less often they have a better quality of life and that is good animal welfare in itself. It’s that simple. We talk more about breeding and the ‘big picture’ of what farming will look like in the future. I want to hear more about this and arrange a meeting with Managing Director at Geno, Sverre. So, I head back to Store Ree. REDX can play potentially a large role for future farming. I ask Sverre what he thinks about that. We have many challenges we have to solve for the future. Increase food production, do it in a more environmentally-friendly way, and we will improve animal welfare. Some of these foundationally oppose each other but I think that technology is one of the important answers here. Perhaps most people don’t associate agriculture with being technologically-advanced, what do you think about that? That can be true of many people, especially those who don’t know much about agriculture, but for us in the business we know that there is extremely fast development in the technology we use, and that Norwegian farmers are fast to adopt new technology. Look at robotic milking, where many farmers are using robots is an example. To start with, in individual herds we see that this gives an opportunity to have offspring from the best cows in your herd, and also an opportunity for those who aren’t so interested in that and rather have a bigger need to quickly improve their herds performance. This will be one of many actions you can take to help. And the final thing I see as important is that for those animals you don’t want to breed from can be inseminated with beef semen which will give a better financial contribution overall to your farm. NOT INCLUDED IN VIDEO Norwegian Red has been bred since the 1930’s, what do you think the new technology being used now has to say for breeding in the future? The total package of new technology which has come over the last 16 years genomic selection, and now sexed semen and embryo gives a new dimension. They increase the speed and precision of our work. We are going faster towards our goal. The genome information which came from the human genome mapped in 2003 has given us a completely new dimension in bovine breeding. I have to say that the genome which was mapped second was for cattle. Taking over a farm can go smoothly but it can also be demanding. Each new generation will do things differently than the one before but now I know that with REDX I can meet my future as a dairy farmer with more certainty, be more sustainable and have healthier cows. Of course, there is a lot that I don’t know about the future and that’s good. But I know that at the very least I can get the right calf in my herd. So when I take over in 1 ½ years am I more certain that REDX is something which will contribute to my success as a dairy farmer.

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