TB Advantage is a genetic index published by AHDB Dairy, to help dairy farmers make informed decisions to breed cows which have an improved resistance to bovine TB.
The index follows extensive research into the genetics of bovine TB, undertaken jointly by the University of Edinburgh, Roslin Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), and supported by Defra and the Welsh Government. Their work showed genetic variation between animals, and formed the basis of the TB Advantage; the first genetic index of its kind in the world.
Using data on over 650,000 Holstein cows who have bovine TB data recorded by the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA), breeding patterns have been established and more resistant bloodlines identified. TB Advantage is only currently available for the Holstein breed, but work is under way to establish if the index can be extended to other dairy and beef breeds, in the longer term.
It’s important to note that breeding cattle with a reduced susceptibility to bovine TB is a long-term approach to disease control and should comprise just part of a much broader eradication strategy. All other existing and emerging control measures therefore remain critically important and should continue to be taken to protect cattle against bovine TB, irrespective of the choice of bull.