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Last update: May 2021

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The main objective of this project is to provide the essential elements needed for genetic selection strategies to improve FE in dairy cows. These elements fit into four categories each with a specific objective:

- To develop new phenotyping tools for some traits that are essential for FE characterization. This will use innovative technologies, including 3D imaging. The chosen technologies will be near-market and thus readily exploitable in the context of existing precision livestock farming, allowing synergy in new phenotyping capacities for FE (e.g. accessing energy balance from automated weighing and body condition score imaging).
- To analyse, and characterize, in detail the determinants of FE in lactating dairy cows. The better understanding of the factors underpinning improvement in FE will be central to quantify their relative importance in the FE of dairy cows, and to build new FE indicators adapted to dairy cows. We will also verify the applicability/relevance of these indicators in different feeding management scenarios to verify that they are not too much context dependant.
- To study the role of body reserves mobilization in FE of lactating dairy cows and to focus part of the research on the genetic determinism of this mobilization in early lactation and its relationship with milk production. This will be an important part of the modelling work to identify the traits involved in FE that could be selected on without deleterious effects on dairy cow robustness.
- To combine the above elements in simulation models that will evaluate the consequences of selecting on different components of FE on long-term efficiency and thus provide assessment of the durability of different FE selection strategies.