General Outline

Version: 03.07.2019 (may be subject to changes)
    WHFF Congress     Classifier Workshop
Sun. 22.03.2020         Arrival of Working Group members
Mon. 23.03.2020  
Arrival of members of the WHFF
01.00 - 06.00 pm: WHFF Council meeting
    Arrival of Classifier Workshop participants
Tue. 24.03.2020  
Arrival of delegates
08.00 am - 02.00 pm:  WHFF Council meeting
02.00 pm - 05.00 pm: CEO / Presidents meeting
    Workshop day 1
    Welcome cocktail (Foyer Miles Davis, 2m2c)
Wed. 25.03.2020   Farm tours     Workshop day 2
    Traditional evening (Montreux Casino)
Thu. 26.03.2020  
08.30 am: Opening session
09.30 am: Morning session 1
10.30 am: Coffee break
11.00 am: Morning session 2
12.30 pm: Lunch
02.00 pm: Afternoon session 3
03.30 pm: Coffee break
04.00 pm: Discussion panel
    Gala dinner (Montreux Casino)
Fri. 27.03.2020  
08.30 am: Morning session 4
10.00 am: Coffee break
10.30 am: Morning session 5
12.00 pm: Producers panel
12.30 pm: Lunch
02.00 pm: General assembly
04.00 pm: WHFF Council meeting
EXPO Bulle evening (Bulle)
07.00 pm: Fondue Party
Sat. 28.03.2020   EXPO Bulle National Holstein & Red Holstein (Bulle)
Departure of delegates

NB: Post-conference tours can be organized on-demand. Should you be interested, please contact the secretariat before the congress.

Thu. 26.03.2020 - Program Details

Version: 16.09.2019 (may be subject to changes)
  Opening session
  Chair: Jos Buiting - WHFF Council (President)
08.30 am
Welcome address
Jos Buiting - WHFF Council (President), The Netherlands
08.40 am
Welcome from the Steering Committee
Markus Gerber - Steering Committee (President), Switzerland
08.50 am Adrian Aebi - Federal Office for Agriculture (Assistant Director), Switzerland
09.10 am Martin Keller - Fenaco (CEO), Switzerland

Session 1 The Holstein cow can do anything - the economic choice
  Chair: Egbert Feddersen - WHFF Council (Member)
09.30 am
Holstein as the breed of choice
Tom Lawlor - Holstein USA (Geneticist), USA
10.00 am
Loss of diversity in the Holstein breed
Anna-Charlotte Doublet - Allice, France

Session 2 The Holstein cow - all set for tomorrow: feed efficiency, sustainability, low methane emissions
  Chair: Ann Louise Carson - WHFF Council (Member)
11.00 am
Methane emissions
Yvette de Haas - Wageningen University (Senior Researcher at Animal Sciences Group), The Netherlands
11.30 am
Feed efficiency
Jennie Pryce - La Trobe University / Victoria State Government (Principal Research Scientist), Australia
12.00 pm
Phenotyping for feed efficiency
Christine Baes - University of Guelph / University of Bern (Professor in Dairy Genomics), Canada / Switzerland

Session 3 New trends and traits for the future
  Chair: Laszlo Bognar - WHFF Council (Member)
02.00 pm
Beef on Dairy
Donagh Berry - Teagasc & VistaMilk SFI Centre (Quantitative Geneticist & Director), Ireland
02.30 pm
Hoof health
Hermann Swalve - Martin-Luther University Halle (Professor in Animal Breeding), Germany
03.00 pm
Milk analysis
Daniel Lefebvre - Lactanet (COO), Canada

Panel 1 Showring Presentation
  Chair: Giorgio Burchiellaro and Denis Bieri  - WHFF Council (Members)
04.00 pm
Show rules
Jos Buiting - WHFF Council (President), The Netherlands
04.15 pm
Panel: Udder scanning
Roberto Landriscina - Italy
Pol Collel - Producer (El Campgran), Spain
Nancy Beerwort - Producer (Cherry Crest Holsteins), Canada

Fri. 27.03.2020 - Program Details

Version: 16.09.2019 (may be subject to changes)
Session 4 Sensors and digitalization on farm - challenges and opportunities for breed organizations
  Chair: Felipe Ruiz - WHFF Council (Member)
08.30 am
Sensors and AMS
Reinhard Reents - vit w. V. (General Manager), Germany
09.00 am
New types of sensors
Steven Sievert - National DHIA & ICAR sub-committee for sampling devices (Manager/Technical Director & Chair), USA
09.30 am
3D cameras
Jørn Rind Thomassen - Viking Genetics & Aarhus University (Senior Project Manager & Visiting Scientist), Denmark

Session 5 Data ownership and integrated use
  Chair: Cherilyn Watson - WHFF Council (Member)
10.30 am
JoinData - data highway
Frido Hamoen - CRV (Managing director BU Data), The Netherlands
11.00 am
Access to data
Matthew Shaffer - DataGene & Interbull (CEO & Chairman), Australia
11.30 am
Herd management software NOA
Boaz Hanochi - ICBA (Herd Management Project Manager), Israel

Panel 2
Producers Panel
  Chair: Lindsey Worden - WHFF Council (Member)
12.00 pm
Patrick Rüttimann - Producer (Ruegruet Holsteins), Switzerland
Matt Winter - Producer (New Church Farm), United Kingdom

  General Assembly
02.00 pm Chair: Jos Buiting - WHFF (President), The Netherlands

Speakers and Abstracts

Version: 16.09.2019 (may be subject to changes)

Opening session

Jos Buiting
WHFF Council (President)
  buiting j
Markus Gerber
Steering Committee (President)
    gerber m
Adrian Aebi - Assistant Director Federal Office for Agriculture
The political environment of Swiss (cattle) breeding
Today’s promotion of livestock breeding
The Swiss animal breeding legislation lays down the terms for the state’s promotion of Swiss animal breeding. It is equivalent to EU legislation. Only recognized animal breeding organizations are eligible to receive federal contributions to promote animal breeding. This is a classic PPP (Public- Private-Partnership) approach. The law defines the framework conditions and the animal breeding organiza-tions work out their breeding objectives. By doing so, 21 recognized breeding organizations received approximately 32 million Swiss francs in federal contributions to realize their breeding measures in 2019. This money went particularly into the support of herd-book keeping and performance testing. An additional 2 million Swiss francs were dedicated to the conservation of Swiss breeds and to research projects on animal genetic resources.
Six recognized Swiss cattle breeding organizations received about 23 million Swiss francs of the aforementioned funds available for the promotion of animal breeding. Two thirds of this money went to the milk performance tests. The funds allows breeding organizations to lower the prices breeders have to pay for the breeding services, such as milk performance testing.

«Animal breeding strategy 2030»
Animal breeding develops the genetic potential of animals. Together with other disciplines of animal husbandry it thus stands at the beginning of the animal products value chain, whose demands it must take into account. International framework conditions as well as the expectations of our society regard-ing animal welfare, animal health and ecology influence this value chain. The agricultural and food in-dustry with its upstream and downstream sectors is therefore in a state of constant change. This in-duced the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) to revise the strategic orientation of the state action taken in the field of animal breeding. The "Animal breeding strategy 2030", which was developed in collaboration with acknowledged experts representing all stakeholder groups, sets the course. In short, the mere performance of livestock is no longer sufficient as a breeding objective. Characteristics such as animal health, animal welfare, environmental impact or resource efficiency have become so-cial requirements and are therefore increasingly relevant in animal breeding. The personal responsibil-ity of breeders and their organizations is also gaining importance. Accordingly, the role of the state is to support breeders in their breeding activities for the successful use of breeds in the long-term and the conservation of rare breeds, while taking the requirements of society into account.

Furthermore, the "Animal breeding strategy 2030" showed, that compared to our neighboring coun-tries, Switzerland needs to intensify its research efforts. Besides basic research, the focus has to lie on applied research, especially the development of new breeding characteristics and methods as well as the evaluation and use of new technology. The establishment of a competence and innovation net-work for animal breeding will tackle this challenge. The network will consist primarily of existing struc-tures and will specifically promote the integration and exploitation of knowledge. The network’s part-ners will be existing breeding organizations with its own research areas.
  aebi a
Martin Keller - CEO Fenaco
From farm to table
fenaco cooperative was established in 1993 as a rural self-help organisation and supports farmers in the economic development of their businesses. It is owned by some 200 local LANDI cooperatives and their 42,000 members, mainly farmers. It operates in four strategic business fields (agro, food industry, retail trade and energy) and pursues three main priorities (innovation, sustainability and international competence). Despite enhanced competition and price pressure, fenaco wants to continue playing its role in the self-help of the Swiss agricultural sector. As agrochemical companies and retailers are growing ever larger, fenaco wants to reach a critical size in order to stay in the market at long term. fenaco seeks proximity to the consumers in order to understand and fulfil their requirements, in accordance with its slogan “from farm to table”. fenaco promotes the USPs of Swiss foodstuffs: a high standard of product quality and safety, proximity and local products, animal welfare and protection of natural resources, transparency and traceability, and rural family structures. This also enables a price differentiation for “Swissness” to be achieved. At the same time, efficiency along the whole value-added chain has to be further improved in order to find the right balance between productivity, ecology and animal welfare. The digitalization of the Swiss farming and food industry serves this objective and is therefore driven forward by the fenaco cooperative together with other partners.
  keller m

Session 1: The Holstein cow can do anything - the economic choice

Tom Lawlor - USA
Holstein as the breed of choice
Details to be completed soon.
  lawlor t
Anna-Charlotte Doublet - France
Loss of diversity in the Holstein breed
Impact of different breeding scheme strategies on genetic diversity was assessed in the French Prim’Holstein breed. The evolution of genetic diversity was estimated in Holstein bulls born between 2005 and 2015, using several inbreeding metrics such as pedigree data and runs of homozygosity (number and length). This study highlights an accelerated loss of diversity with the beginning of genomic selection, resulting from the decrease in generation intervals. As expected, genomic selection also resulted in higher annual genetic gains. Based on simulations, we then analysed to what extend several embryo transfer strategies may have an impact on genetic diversity and gain. We also plan to identify genomic regions involved in the genetic load, i.e. regions responsible for inbreeding depression, in order to take this information into account in genomic evaluations in the future and to assess the impact of this inclusion on genetic diversity and gain. This will provide solutions for more sustainable breeding schemes and animals.   doublet a

Session 2: The Holstein cow - all set for tomorrow [...]

Yvette de Haas - The Netherlands
Methane emissions
Climate change is a growing international concern and it is well established that release of greenhouse gases (GHG) is a contributing factor. So far, within animal production, there is little or no concerted effort on long-term breeding strategies to mitigate GHG from ruminants. In recent years, several consortia have been formed to collect and combine data for genetic evaluation. Discussion areas of these consortia focus on
(1) What are genetic parameters for methane (CH4) emissions,
(2) What proxies can be used to assess CH4emission, and
(3) What are the prospects of breeding for lower emitting animals?
The estimated genetic parameters show that enteric CH4 is a heritable trait, and that it is highly genetically correlated with DMI. So far, the most useful proxies relate to feed intake, milk mid-infrared spectral data, and fatty acid concentrations in milk. To be able to move forward with a genetic evaluation and ranking of animals for CH4 emission, international collaboration is essential to make progress in this area. Collaboration is not only in terms of sharing ideas, experiences and phenotypes, but also in terms of coming to a consensus regarding what phenotype to collect and to select for.
  de haas y
Jennie Pryce - Australia
Feed efficiency
Feed is the biggest variable cost on farm and therefore ranks highly for consideration in breeding goals. The most common approach to include feed efficiency in a selection index has been to approximate energy requirements for maintenance using estimates of body weight through type traits. However, through genomic selection it is now possible to select for feed efficiency directly. In Australia, the Feed Saved breeding value was introduced in April 2015 and is included in the national selection index (BPI). Feed saved includes maintenance requirements and metabolic efficiency. Metabolic efficiency is the difference between actual feed intake and predicted feed intake (sometimes known as residual feed intake). Animals with breeding values of 66kg (1 standard deviation above the mean) are estimated to require 66kg less dry matter per year at the same level of milk production as an animal with a breeding value of 0kg.
  pryce j
Christine Baes - Canada / Switzerland
Phenotyping for feed efficiency
The application of novel genomic approaches to improve sustainability is the goal of many national dairy cattle breeding organizations. In parallel, dairy farmers are striving to improve profitability, as they are continuously facing challenges like changes in feed and milk prices. Feed represents up to 60% of the variable costs of milk production, and improving feed efficiency in dairy cows will help achieve better margins over the long-term. Although collection of feed-intake data on individual dairy cows is expensive and difficult, rapid development of new technologies and precision farming allow more precise / automatic measurement of existing or new traits. Strategic phenotyping of several thousand genotyped animals suffices for effective selection within an entire population. Implementation of genomic selection strategies provide an efficient and effective means to improve feed efficiency in dairy cattle populations, thus also reducing the environmental footprint of the dairy industry.   baes c

Session 3: New trends and traits for the future

Donagh Berry - Ireland
Beef on Dairy
Feed efficiency is obviously important irrespective of feed system. Todate commentary on feed efficiency has largely focused on a daily metric or a per lactation metric; these metrics require data on feed intake which is resource intensive to measure. Little cognisance is given to longevity (data freely available) or, in the case of grass-based systems of production, calving date (data also freely available). Moreover, there can be a disconnect between measure of feed efficiency (i.e., lower feed intake) and the feed-intake credential desired in grazing dairy cows (i.e., greater feed intake capacity). Relatively good predictors of feed intake already exist which can be readily exploited in breeding programs at minimal cost. While many attempt to dissuade the use of some efficiency metrics because of their (potential) correlations with other traits, the argument is nonsensical as dairy cow breeders have breed for the moderately antagonistically correlated traits of milk and fertility for two decades now.   berry d 
Hermann Swalve - Germany
Hoof health
Hoof health in dairy cattle is of ongoing concern in dairy cattle. Traditionally, hoof health primarily has been dealt with from a veterinary perspective. This perspective is often focused on the cure of diseased animals and on the prevention of diseases by means of management practices. With the general trend of collecting data on health of dairy cows, and even pioneered by collecting data on hoof health, massive amounts of data have become available. For the case
of hoof health, it has to be differentiated between individual treatments of lame cows and collecting data at time of hoof trimming thus including every cow of a contemporary group. A variety of results have been achieved when analyzing hoof health data in the context of genetics. Heritabilities of the susceptibility to individual diseases and genetic correlations between diseases have been estimated. The results show that genetic selection for improved hoof health is feasible. With the widespread application of genomics, also genomic selection for hoof health nowadays is feasible and practiced in various countries with good results. From own experience, specific attention will be given to the diseases sole hemorrhage, interdigital hyperplasia, and digital dermatitis.
  swalve h
Daniel Lefebvre - Canada
Milk analysis
Advances in analytical methods in recent years have opened up exciting opportunities to expand the potential of milk as a medium to give us valuable insight in dairy cows health, welfare and economic value. Billions of milk samples are analysed every year by mid infrared spectroscopy and new predictions models are continuously being created, going far beyond the traditional compositional analysis. Functional properties of milk (fatty acid profile, casein content, cheesemaking properties) to tools for monitoring nutritional and metabolic status (MUN, BHB, Energy balance, feed efficiency) can now be reliably and economically monitored in high throughput instruments, ideal for creating large datasets for selection indexes. In addition to MIR, biochemical (ELISA) and molecular (PCR) are increasingly used for the identification and quantification of disease and other conditions (inflammation, pregnancy) that can be highly
valuable for routine herd management as well as disease surveillance. We will highlight with some actual examples the value of some of the recent analytical developments and suggest some potential areas of development for the future.
  lefebvre d

Session 4: Sensors and digitalization on farm [...]

Reinhard Reents - Germany
Sensors and AMS
Dairy cattle breeding has accumulated a valuable data set used for management and breeding. This has led to highly reliable breeding values for progeny tested bulls and more recently also for young bulls. Due to a shortage of labor, automatic milking systems (AMS) are nowadays frequently used on dairy farms. Many intense dairy regions report of more than 50% of new installations of AMS systems. Initially, AMS were primarily used to reduce labor in the milking process. Nowadays, new developments in sensor technology combined with AMS have the potential to collect phenotypes on ‘old’ and ‘new’ traits with low costs in high frequency, replacing costly data collection systems. Therefore, phenotypes on new traits could be collected on large amounts of animals and used for genetic improvement of traits that could not be addressed properly so far. Examples are body condition, body weight, udder geometry, and some behavior traits. First analyses show that data from many on-farm sensors are not yet as accurate as data from separate data collection systems, but technological progress of data calibration is expected. Together with the high amount of repeated measures, usefulness for genetic improvement might increase.
Key will be if these new sources of data will not only be available for management purposes on farm but also centrally for genetic and genomic evaluation.
  reents r 
Steven Sievert - USA
New sensors for dairy data collection
Fueled by improvements in technology, computing power, and data storage, producers have many options in on-farm sensor devices for measurement of dairy cow metrics on the farm. In addition to the traditional recording of milk yield and composition, the opportunities to collect data on other phenotypic traits are abundant. These include milking speed, milk flow curves, activity measurements, feed efficiency measurements, and live cow measurements such as condition and conformation. With a wide range of sensor devices available in the marketplace, understanding what the sensor measures and how these measurements are transformed into useful data is critical. In addition to understanding what is measured, ensuring accurate animal identification and cross-referencing sensor-system identification with official animal identification is a prerequisite for automated data collection systems. These two focus areas provide abundant opportunities for development of new tools for management decisions on the dairy as well as new streams of dairy data for research, breed improvement, and genetic evaluations. The challenge that exists is qualification and integration of data from sensor systems into traditional herd recording programs and national databases as more dairy operations invest in new cow-side measurement technologies.
  sievert s
Jørn Rind Thomassen - Denmark
3D cameras
Camera technology to bring large-scale data from commercial herds. Real case study, data from 3D cameras, sensors, reliable data, automatic data collection, dual-purpose data – genetics and herd management. With increasing herd size and less labour spend per cow, sensors and on farm digitalization can support the farmer to take better management decisions. In alignment increasing demand from consumers and society to document product safety, quality, tractability and environmental food print, farm digitalization is an important part of the solution. Real-time and large scale data collection at farm level that in an easy and cheap way for the farmer can provide valuable information to make better management and genetic decisions. These new sensor data or autogenerated data from farm equipment may be patent protected by private companies, since many R&D-costs are spend in development and implementation. Accessibility for the breed organizations to these new data sources are important to ensure reliable and efficient genetic selection. Viking Genetics will use 3D camera technology to measure a cow’s individual feed intake real time. These data can be used for both daily herd management purposes as well as genetic selection for feed efficiency.
  rind thomassen j

Session 5: Data ownership and integrated use

Frido Hamoen - The Netherlands
JoinData - data highway
Together with Friesla Campina and Agrifirm, CRV took the initiative to start a new cooperative: JoinData. The JoinData cooperative is working towards a secure and transparent data platform for the agricultural sector. Commercial enterprises, knowledge institutions and agrarian businesses are using our data platform to develop innovative digital working methods in the field of sustainability, efficiency and nutrition. The first connections to the platform are made in 2018. From that starting point, JoinData has expanded the data highway, and encourage businesses to develop innovative applications (apps) using the data available, so that farmers can manage their activities even more effectively. Goal of JoinData is for data to be actively shared within the agricultural sector, thereby encouraging innovations, which will eventually result in improved performance in terms of sustainability, profitability and welfare. CRV is actively supporting the development and promoting the use of JoinData for two reasons. First to gather more data to be able to breed better cows. Secondly to develop apps to support the farmer to manage these cows in a better way.   hamoen f 
Matthew Shaffer - Australia
Access to data
Details to be completed soon.
  shaffer m
Boaz Hanochi - Israel
Herd management software NOA
The Israeli dairy sector represent holistic approach for data management. This was part of the concept of the pioneers who build the foundations of the Israeli dairy industry, more than 100 years ago. They believed in data recording and data sharing for the benefit of all. Today, the total number of milking cows is 135,000, located in nearly 750 dairy farms across the country in a limited geographical region. Around 90% of the cows in the HerdBook. The average milk yield of the Israeli cow is one of the highest in the world, 12,010 kg of milk per cow / year, with 3.77% fat, 3.34% protein and 290,000 SCC. Many factors contribute for that impressing results, but one of the major contributors, is the comprehensive data management system that was developed in Israel by the ICBA in the last 30 years. The two most important products that enable it are:
• NOA – the Israeli on-farm herd management software (HM) that installed in more than 90% of the farms.
• The national Herdbook database (HBDB) that serve as central DB of the whole industry.
Special data transfer system was developed to exchange data between the local farm HM software (NOA) and the HBDB. More than 20 different data files from HBDB system updating NOA DB and save time for the farm team, allow the farm manager to focus on decision making and not on data collection. Special intranet network connects all the players in the industry; farms, dairy processing, milk lab, udder health lab, AI organization, veterinary services organization, feed centers, feed mills. Sharing data between dairy farmers is not an easy task, however in the Israeli dairy sector it was the main principal from the very beginning.
hanochi b

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