Professor Jennie Pryce is a geneticist who is well known for her work in dairy genetics and genomics. Jennie is Research Director for Agriculture Victoria Research and a Professor of La Trobe University.
Jennie has dedicated her life to dairy herd improvement and is passionate about research. She grew up on a dairy farm in Shrewsbury (UK (United Kingdom)) where at an early age she bred pedigree Holstein dairy cattle under Severnvale Holsteins prefix. Jennie received her BSc (Hons) first class and PhD from The University of Edinburgh (UK). Prior to her work in Australia, she was employed as a dairy geneticist by the Scottish Agricultural College (UK) and as a scientist by the dairy breeding company Livestock Improvement Corporation (New Zealand). In 2008 Jennie made Melbourne her home and started a research position with the Department of Primary Industries (now Agriculture Victoria Research).
Jennie now leads the DairyBio Animals Research program. Her team is co-located with DataGene, responsible for delivering genetic improvement tools to the dairy industry. She has been Lead Scientist of DataGene Ltd since its inception in 2016. Together, they have been transforming the way farmers and industry perceive breeding values and genetic improvement. Her team conducts the R&D behind all 45 breeding values and genomics that farmers use in their on-farm decision making. Farmers have access to the genetic information as breeding values via the Good Bulls App, which is available on Android and Apple platforms) This innovation is critical to the dairy industry, and especially Victoria, where it a $1B export industry for the state. Jennie’s work is instrumental in developing and delivering tools that have a short lead-in time for release, for direct on-farm benefits for all Australian dairy farmers.
In the last decade, Jennie’s most significant research outcomes have included: 1) feed efficiency (Feed Saved) estimated breeding values for the dairy industry, which has become method of choice internationally, and 2) the sustainability index – projected to lower dairy cow emissions (released to the dairy industry in 2022); 3) heat tolerance breeding values. These are breeding values of high importance to farmers and society and her team has pioneered this EBV internationally. Australia became the first country in the world to have feed efficiency and heat tolerance breeding values for dairy cattle, with many other research groups since copying our approach.
In 2016 Jennie was the first non-North American recipient of the prestigious American Dairy Science Association J.L. Lush Award for Animal Breeding and Genetics and for the last 4 consecutive years was named as Australia’s top researcher in the field of animal husbandry in the Australian newspaper, based on number of citations for research papers published in the top 20 journals in each field over the past 5 years.