Information stream
France Génétique Elevage and the Covid 19 crisis

Like all other sectors of activity, the ruminant genetic improvement sector is strongly impacted by the Covid 19 crisis.
The short term consequences are a very strong disruption of performance collection in farms and control stations. Collection levels compared to week 12 of 2019 (week of 16-22 March) show a drop of 30 to 70% depending on the species and type of trait.
Animal reproduction is also disrupted, including the implementation of insemination in small ruminants.
Faced with these difficulties, FGE has set up a crisis unit with all its partners to limit as much as possible the consequences of containment and the cessation of certain activities, but also to anticipate and prepare for the resumption of activity once it is over. We are also particularly attentive to the medium-term repercussions on selection programs. These systems are managed over a long period of time, and an interruption in the accumulation of genetic progress can have very significant impacts.
Some activities have been postponed. Their implementation schedule will be revised according to the evolution of the containment measures.
Other activities will be continued according to local constraints and in compliance with biosafety measures. In other cases, particularly in the case of contacts between farmers and technicians, alternative solutions are, where possible, being deployed, subject to the agreement of the farmer. Farmers are advised to contact directly the technician or the structure concerned.
As of now, the longer-term consequences are being considered, particularly for the calculation of genetic values for late spring, autumn and winter 2020. The Idele teams are currently studying with GenEval and the other FGE partners the different solutions to propose the necessary adaptations of calculations (weight at typical age, accumulated lactations, qualifications) to make the most of the information while keeping a precision compatible with their genetic valuation. Other leads for breeds with genomic selection could be studied by using targeted genotyping of certain populations as a temporary replacement for performance data collection.
The aim of all these measures is to enable the breeder to manage his herd and its renewal in the best possible way, to guarantee the reproduction of his animals in the best possible conditions to ensure the production of the next season, and to minimise the impact of the current health crisis for the selection organism selection programmes conducted in each breed.