Time and money can be saved by taking a good quality sample for parentage verification and genetic defects testing.

At present, the failure rates are 5% to 8% for hair samples and 1% to 1.5% for ear notch samples, with re-tests causing additional cost for breeders.

Tail hair root follicles are an excellent source of DNA for genomic and routine parentage testing but the performance of samples processed and the reliability of the genomic results are dependent upon sample quality.

Steps to ensure successful sampling

• Pull at least 60 tail hairs from the tail switch. DO NOT CUT hair. If the sample is missing the follicle (root), it will not contain DNA. Also if not enough hair is taken, there will not be enough DNA for genotyping

• Grasp the hairs tightly (as close to the skin as possible) with hands or pliers. As an animal ages, the hairs become harder to remove so the use of pliers often aids removal

• Do not collect shed hair for sampling

• Ensure hair is completely dry and as clean as possible, otherwise the DNA will degrade before extraction

• When more than one animal is sampled, take extreme care to avoid contamination of hair roots between animals

• Be sure there is no substance on the sample, such as sprays, detergents or other cleaning agents

• Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight

• Keep different animals’ samples separate in different bags

• Only take hair samples from live animals

• Label the packet with the animal details etc.

• Once the hair is placed in the bag, seal it tightly ready for return

• If sending semen samples, thaw and place one straw in the packet provided, seal and send immediately to the society

A how-to video to correctly remove hair follicles can be viewed here.

Keep samples out of direct sunlight.

Please use the envelope provided and send samples to:
Tracey Thomas, Hereford Cattle Society, Hereford House, 3 Offa Street, Hereford, HR1 2LL.