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HomeDairyHolstein bull calves to be genomic tested in UK from 2021
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Holstein bull calves to be genomic tested in UK from 2021

All UK-born Holstein male calves registered from January 1st, 2021 will be required to have a genomic test.

According to Holstein UK, this test will be used to verify parentage and if successful will also provide a UK unofficial male genomic evaluation result for the calf.

The new process, the board outlined, aims to:

  1. Remove the need for multiple DNA sampling of male calves;
  2. Increase the accuracy of parentage testing and thus improve the integrity of the Herd Book;
  3. Provide more accurate genetic evaluations for young bulls;
  4. Also, provide future sire genomic profiles for genomic parentage tests.
Replace existing DNA process 

“This will replace the existing DNA process and dams of calves will be required to be genomic tested if they do not currently have a UK genomic evaluation.”

“The only exceptions will be if the sire of the calf does not have a UK genomic evaluation or if a foreign ET dam does not have a UK genomic profile.”

“In those cases, the male calf can undergo the existing (microsatellite) DNA test. If the member also wants a genomic test, that will be charged separately and cannot be used for parentage verification.”


Members should continue to register male calves in the usual way. They will then automatically be sent a sampling kit for the calf and if required for the dam also.

In the case of UK-based ET dams, where the dam may not be owned by the member, the kit will be sent to the registered owner.

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If samples are successfully processed at the lab, then parentage results will be available in 6 to 8 weeks.

Genomic tests conducted by another provider will be accepted if they result in a UK genomic evaluation.

If a member reports that a UK=based dam is unavailable for testing, the registration of the male calf will be referred to the Holstein UK Operations Committee.


The cost of the male calf test will remain at £32.50 + VAT and if required a further £23.00 +VAT for the dam, according to Holstein UK.

Genomic results

Male calves that are successfully tested will receive an unofficial UK genomic result. This will be published in the genomic portal.  This unofficial male genomic evaluation is only viewable by the member that has registered the calf.

It may be shared with potential purchasers, but it cannot be used to market semen, Holstein UK concluded.

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