The ARDI project makes progress despite COVID-19
2020 will undoubtedly be remembered for the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. Every sector is being affected to a greater or lesser extent and the planning of research projects has had to be adapted to accommodate this new situation.
The ARDI project has also been affected. One of the project’s objectives is to set up a body to manage both the Manech and Latxa selection schemes. It is absolutely essential to seek and compare the opinions of livestock farmers on both sides of the border to achieve this. However, the meetings planned for this purpose were unable to be held due to restrictions on movement within and across borders, meaning that the fulfilment of this objective will be delayed. These restrictions have also affected face-to-face meetings between partners and the field work that the associations’ technicians carry out on the farms (milk control, qualifications, etc.). As a result, the two project coordination meetings were held virtually.
However, the other objectives are progressing smoothly and steadily. New, innovative methodologies have been implemented and analysed. Methodologies have been developed to evaluate the impact of Manech genetics on the genetic variability of the Latxa breed, to objectively compare the genetic levels of both breeds. In addition, new methodologies have been implemented to genetically evaluate the fat and protein content of milk. This methodology will make it possible to evaluate more animals more accurately and improve the technical cost-effectiveness of the dairy control programme.
In 2020, in compliance with all of the required safety protocols, a total of 2,558 doses of semen were inserted into the Latxa breed from the Manech breed: 2,061 in the Latxa Cara Rubia (White Face Latxa) breed in 22 herds and 497 in Latxa Cara Negra (Black Face Breed) in Navarre in 7 herds. A total of 7,101 doses have been incorporated during the three years of the project. The aim is to strengthen the connections between Latxa and Manech.
All of the activities and methodologies carried out have an ultimate goal: to make these breeds more competitive in the environment in which they are being farmed. The semi-extensive farming system brings much more to society than products such as milk, cheese or meat. It helps to maintain the landscape, contributes to rural development, helps to control fires, etc. …..
So, despite COVID, the ARDI project continues to make progress.