Our research

We're engaged in a range of projects to help keep our farmers and their businesses at the forefront of the global dairy industry.

For future success and sustainability, our products and services are developed with a rigorous, science-based focus. Our Research and Development Group, who are extensively published, provide technological solutions with quantifiable benefits for our customers. 

Projects

We work on a range of projects in four key areas:

  • genomics – genomic selection, breeding scheme technical support, genomic sequencing
  • analytics – full farm improvement, machine learning, farm systems
  • reproduction – semen diluent
  • hardware and systems – body condition scoring, high performance sensors, computer vision and optics.

Genetics and genomics

We’ve been developing methods of incorporating genomic information into the genetic evaluation system since single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chips for dairy cattle became commercially available.

We’re also trying to enhance statistical methods for combining genomic information with traditional phenotypic and pedigree information for genetic prediction. Initial research was done using a 10K SNP chip. Later the 50K chip – which all the past and current LIC bulls were genotyped – became available.

Because we have access to high-density (HD) (700K) genotypes on selected animals, we can provide a reference panel to impute the 50K genotypes to HD.

Initial work is being done using sequence data on 600 animals, with a view to obtaining a greater understanding of the bovine genome and ultimately to enhancing selection decisions. 

The team also supported LIC's diagnostics business, GeneMark, through the development of a parentage verification tool. 

Analytics

Currently developing advanced analytical and learning models to interrogate and interpret data from the on-farm automated data capture of animals and the environment. For example, in line milk meters, walk over weigh scales and pedometers, and soil moisture probes, weather stations, grass growth recorders. 

Our objective is to deliver a suite of predictive tools that improve the ability of farmers to make sound management decisions.

Reproduction

The Reproduction research team aims to deliver bovine reproduction research and Artificial Breeding (AB) systems to make farming easier and more profitable.

A large part of our group’s research is focused on liquid semen. In the short term, we’re working on process improvements to make the current liquid semen system more robust. In the long term, we’re conducting fundamental research to understand sperm biology under liquid storage. Our aim is to further improve our liquid semen system.

We support the development of new products and services, such as sexed semen and automated oestrus detection. We also play a role in delivering reproduction solutions on farm.

We’re always on the lookout for more talent. So, if you’re skilled in reproductive technology, quantitative genetics, statistics or machine learning please get in touch.