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You care about soundness in your cow herd, right? Of course, you do; it is a trait many in the beef industry today care deeply about. Whether it is in the form of bull returns and guarantees, early culling of replacement heifers and developing bulls, or using an AI sire sight unseen, soundness plays a critical role in your reputation and the success of your enterprise.
Soundness by itself is a complex trait controlled by many skeletal and environmental factors. Fortunately, we know soundness traits such as the curvature of claws, the angle of the hoof, or even the angularity of the hock and skeleton can be improved through genetic selection and appropriate culling practices. The heritability of these traits range from 0.10 to 0.40, meaning approximately 10% to 40% of the variation for soundness traits in our cattle populations can be directly associated with genetics.
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A lot has changed at the American Simmental Association in the last five years. Five years ago, we moved into our new headquarters. We were gearing up for our 50th anniversary and preparing to write the history book. We were launching the International Genetic Solutions (IGS) Feeder Profit Calculator, and anticipating this new way to encompass management and genetics to estimate the relative value of a set of feeder calves. The genetic evaluation used the previous Cornell software and older models, including a two-step blending process for genomic information, and three times a year a fresh evaluation was released. Now we are settled in the headquarters, the IGS FPC has years of growth and success under its belt, and we are cranking out weekly genetic evaluations using improved methods: single-step genomics and the BOLT software system. Read more here.