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Agricultural News

Genomics Key to Long Term Vision of Beef Production

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:57:31 CDT

Genomics Key to Long Term Vision of Beef Production

The American Hereford Association has its eyes on producing the right animal for producers today's beef industry. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm News Director Ron Hays interviewed AHA Chief Operating Officer and Director of Breed Improvement Dr. Jack Ward about the association's vision for the future. Ward said before their breed improvement meetings or before giving a presentation he talks about the challenges the beef industry will have in having the world population double by 2050.   Producers will be challenged to do this as more land comes out of agricultural production.

"If we're going to be able to sustain this growth and we are going to feed this population we got to do it through technology and becoming more efficient," Ward said. "So, today I would tell you we have the tools in place with the continued growth with the performance programs that the breed associations have, registry programs, and then finally the biggest component is the DNA component in looking at these cattle genetically."

Ward's comments were featured on Monday's Beef Buzz. You can listen to the full feature by Clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.

In making changes to cattle and in turn to the beef they produce will take time, especially in comparing cattle to chickens and hogs that mature at a young age and also have a much shorter gestation cycle. Ward said simply the cattle industry can not make generation turns as quickly,

"So it become imperative and more important that we use as many tools that we can to make the right kind of educated decisions to move our genetics in the right direction and DNA is be part of that," Ward said.

In recent years the American Hereford Association among other breed associations have been using EPDs and genomics together as genetic selection tools. When a calf is born they receive a random sampling of genetics from its sire and dam. In developing a EPD it utilizes half from its parents. The next step is to see how that animal performs in its contemporary group. That differs from using genomics.

"Interesting part about the genomics side, it doesn't care anything about really pedigree, it doesn't care anything about individual performance, its simply looking at does this animal have favorable or unfavorable traits for this genomics or DNA for this particular trait," Ward said. "I think its an incredible tool as we develop it and we become more informed with its 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.



Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Jack Ward
right-click to download mp3


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