Hereford Breeders Turn to Genetics to Improve Breed and Feed a Growing PopulationTue, 27 May 2014 15:57:40 CDT
Jack Ward is the chief operating officer and director of breed improvement for the American Hereford Association. Radio Oklahoma’s Ron Hays recently talked with him about the direction of the breed and how he is trying to lead the association forward in producing the best product for today’s marketplace. You can listen to their full conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.
“All indications are that the world’s population is going to double by the year 2050,” Ward said. “And the good Lord isn’t making more land and, as a matter of fact, there is some land coming out of agriculture. So, if we’re going to be able to sustain this growth and we’re going to be able to feed this population we’ve got to do it through technology and becoming more efficient.”
He said that his group, like other breed-specific groups, are conducting breeding programs, registry programs and are beginning to look at the DNA of the cattle. Ward said that since cattle breeders can’t make as many turns genetically as can poultry producers in a given amount of time, “it becomes even more imperative and more important that we use as many tools as we can to make the right kind of educated decisions to move our genetics in the right direction.”
He said that adding genomics to EDPs allows quality bulls to be selected at younger ages. It helps to determine which animals have the genes for the most desirable traits.
“I think it’s an incredible tool. As we develop it and become more informed about it, it’s just going to allow us to make good decisions and select animals much earlier in life with more proof.”
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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