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Best Practices for Most Accurate Genetic Predictions and Genomic Testing

September 12, 2019 Industry News ASA
Best Practices to Receive the Most Accurate Genetic Predictions 1. Clearly defined breeding objectives With the ability to increase the rate of genetic change comes the possibility to make mistakes at a faster pace. Breeding goals need to be clearly identified…

Calving Distribution: A Tool for Evaluating Reproductive Performance

September 09, 2019 Industry News ASA
By Dr. Rachel Endecott, Director of DNA Research Management and Youth Development Calculating calving distribution is one way to evaluate the previous year’s cow herd reproductive performance. This assessment calculates the number of cows calving in 21-day…

AJSA Steer Profitability Competition Year of Learning

Dr. Rachel Endecott, Managing Editor.

As summer winds down and thoughts turn to fall tasks, I’d like to take the opportunity to share with you about the AJSA Steer Profitability Competition (SPC). As I write this, we are just finishing up another successful year of learning, leading, and cattle feeding.

The premise of the contest is simple — junior members send feeder calves to the University of Missouri feedlot, calves are fed to harvest then sold on the grid, and profitability determines the winners. Where this program differs from a typical ranch-to-rail experience is the educational component. SPC participants attend monthly webinars from speakers throughout the industry on a variety of topics centered on the cattle feeding enterprise. This past year, webinars ranged from animal breeding and genetic selection to ruminant nutrition and feedlot diets to carcass grading basics.   

Each month, participants submit a feedback assignment based on the webinar material. For example, the assignment from the animal breeding and genetic selection webinar were to create your own selection index based on your specific herd and environment. Reading this set of assignments was one of many high points of the SPC year for me — these young people have a great grasp on their production environment and traits that are important to them. I read about fescue tolerance from Missourians, brisket disease resistance from Coloradans, and how calving ease is important when you’re in school all day and can’t skip class to check heifers.   

For two of the webinars, participants were able to choose among writing a summary, creating 5 multiple choice quiz questions, or designing an infographic based on the material. I was blown away by the creative and savvy submissions from the group. Martha Moenning, Hayfield, MN, submitted this fantastic infographic about quality and yield grading after the carcass grading basics webinar. What a clever way to deliver the message in an easy-to-consume format!   

My interaction with this group gives me great confidence that the future of the commercial beef cattle industry is in good hands. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about getting involved in this unique educational opportunity for 2019-2020, go to juniorsimmental.org and click on SPC or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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