Neogen Corporation recently announced that it has entered into a strategic agreement with Merck Animal Health to market Neogen’s Igenity Dairy Heifer Program.

The Igenity Dairy Heifer Program consists of genomic tests that offer commercial dairy producers essential information on the genetic potential of replacement dairy heifers. The genomic tests can be performed soon after a calf is born, and is an excellent tool in the decision-making process for breeding and heifer selection.

“With the agreement, Neogen will benefit from placing its product into Merck Animal Health’s extensive dairy sales and technical services organization, and Merck Animal Health’s customers will have easier access to the innovative dairy genomic tests,” said Terri Morrical, Neogen’s vice president of Animal Safety. “The Igenity genomic tests represent a great value to cost-conscious dairy producers, as the simple tests can save producers the thousands of dollars necessary to raise a heifer to breeding age, usually two years, only to determine the animal does not have the genetic merit to produce a superior calf. Use of the Igenity program can help ensure only the best heifers are selected to enter a farm’s breeding program.”

Results from the tests include an animal’s score on several important traits, including health traits such as net merit, pregnancy rate, productive life and somatic cell score; and yield traits, such as the animal’s milk in fat pounds, fat percentage, protein pounds, and protein percentage. The test contains information on all of the key genetic markers needed for the USDA-AIPL genomic evaluation.

Merck Animal Health will market two versions of the Igenity genomic tests:

  • Igenity-Prime, which is Neogen’s original test available to determine the genetic merit of a commercial dairy heifer. Numerous commercial dairies have already seen a great return on investment using this proven genetic test, which features nearly 26,000 genetic markers for accurate results, and also includes disease and performance trait markers.
  •  Igenity-Select, an excellent decision-making tool for commercial dairies that features nearly 7,000 genetic markers for disease and performance traits, and is supported by the USDA to deliver accurate results.