Two North American teams of dairy genetics experts have joined ranks to speed up access to genetics for hornless dairy cows who are also top milk producers.

Minnesota-based Recombinetics and Semex, a farmer-owned Canadian company, announced today are launching a precision gene editing program to give the hornless (polled) trait to dairy herds already sporting superlative health and milk producing traits. Scientists have shown in recent years they can bring the hornless trait (naturally occurring for centuries in some cattle breeds) to dairy cattle, but so far not necessarily to top producing cows.

Semex is long-known for its high level of genetics products across the dairy sector. Now, Recombinetics, which has been aided by research grants in recent years from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is “taking the next step with Semex to bring the hornless trait together with their (Semex’s) elite cattle genetics,” said Recombinetics Communications Manager Kristine Huson in a message to Agri-Pulse.

Many dairy operators look forward to bringing hornless trait to their herds to avoid dehorning calves – painful to the calves and a bloody, potentially injurious job for those doing it – and to reduce risks of injury to other cattle and to farmers from cattle with horns.

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