Sunday, July 3, 2022

Data transfer makes progress

Following confirmation the national dairy database will be transferred from LIC to DairyNZ management, the background work is well underway. But Federated Farmers database stakeholder group representative John Bluett said there were still a number of significant issues for the main parties to determine before the road to transfer was completely smooth. “Setting this up, there are issues around what data can get used for research, and who actually has a say on what gets used there,” he said.

The transfer sees sire breeding worth (BW) index moved over, but LIC will continue to retain exclusive rights to cow BW and ownership of its interests in breeding, production and lactation worth.

During the consultation process advocates of the transfer had pushed for more dam information being transferred over, as is the case in Australia. There had also been calls for greater sharing of genomic data to advance genomic DNA sire proving.

However genomics data has been left out of the transfer provisions, given individual companies are now relatively well advanced with their own products around the science.

The agreement between LIC and DairyNZ has the core 46 core database fields transferred, relating to calving, mating and production data. However the transfer agreement also allows for the use of other “non-core data” to be transferred from LIC to DairyNZ for the purposes of industry research and animal evaluation.

Bluett said it was in this area of what data could and could not be transferred on the grounds of research where more work needed to be done. He acknowledged some of the data fields were proving “tricky” in negotiations.

“As a group there is much work going on behind closed doors, including with breed societies and genetics companies, and it is making progress,” he said.

Another issue still being “thrashed through” was who actually owned the data on a cow, including her BW and animal health history, and transfer of that data from genetics companies other than LIC through to the database. Discussion has also ranged over what if any other fields could be included.

The Anderson Report sparked the initial decision to discuss database transfer to an independent party. It also recommended new database fields should be defined and added to support farm management decisions, or industry supply chain requirements, as appropriate.

NZ Animal Evaluation (NZAEL) general manager Dr Jeremy Bryant said database development was “well on track” with all parties talking. The latest stage of development was the “design and discovery” phase, kicking off in February. He said once up and running the database would run in parallel to the existing one to ensure it functioned smoothly.

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