Finally, commercial producers get the same genetic tools as seedstock providers.

05 January 2018
Commercial producers have limited tools for replacement heifer selection. Now, they can access tools seedstock folks have to predict cow longevity and ability to produce calves with built-in value.      

Beef Magazine.com      |     

Commercial producers have limited tools for replacement heifer selection. Now, they can access tools seedstock folks have to predict cow longevity and ability to produce calves with built-in value. 

A large portion of our industry has been forced to sit idly by while a small subset of beef producers take advantage of ever-increasing improvements in genetic selection tools.  Recent advances have provided seedstock producers with a whole host of EPDs, indexes, and DNA technologies that allow them to make a more rapid change than ever before.  While this brings some unsettled waters to navigate, we all know we have to continue to up our game if we are going to compete with other animal protein sources that have huge biological and efficiency advantages.

True, commercial cow/calf operators are beneficiaries of this progress when they make savvy bull decisions.  But still, that commercial rancher is left without a meaningful metric to make selection decisions on replacement females.  At the ground level, producers are using much the same approach that has been used for generations to populate and grow their cow herd.  We are surrounded by major technological advancements, from our phone to our tractor, and yet heifer selection is often left to the strengths and weaknesses of the eyeball test.

Multiple organizations have stepped in to try and offset this commercial disadvantage.  Firms have developed various DNA tests that give an added glimpse to the genetic prowess of females.  This has been a huge step forward, however, this glimpse can be a bit too superficial and vague and what is more leaves out two major components of genetic awareness – pedigree knowledge and individual performance.

 

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