American Hereford Assoc.'s Shane Bedwell Gives Us 'a Look Under the Hood' in Genetic EvaluationThu, 21 Feb 2019 10:23:32 CST
During the recent 2019 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn had the chance to visit with Shane Bedwell, chief operating officer and director of breed improvement for the American Hereford Association. Bedwell offered Horn a look under the hood so to speak, when it comes to the inner workings of the association’s genetic evaluation methodology - which just over a year ago, underwent a major overhaul. Since then, Bedwell says breeders have rapidly adjusted and adopted to the new system and have enjoyed the benefit of the advancements that have been made. In partnership with its service provider, the Neogen company, Bedwell explained how cattle DNA samples submitted by breeders are evaluated and factored into the breed’s EPD calculations.
“Our methodology for our genetic evaluation is a single-step version of genomics, where we are taking that group of 50,000 markers off of that chip and then there’s a little over 2,500 really informative markers of those that we boil down and weight,” he explained. “Basically, we’re taking a subset of those markers and directly incorporating those with the phenotypic pedigree information rather than using all 50,000… It’s really one of the most innovative approaches that’s occurred in the last 30 years relative to EPD calculations.”
The information collected from these evaluations is then used to highlight the advantages Hereford genetics can add to a producer’s herd in everything from fertility to docility and efficiency to longevity. Bedwell says the association has been able to take this information and apply it to the organization’s commercial programs. When used strategically, he says producers can inject greater marketing power into their operation. It is a trend Bedwell says the AHA will continue on, in constantly seeking ways in which to improve Hereford genetics.
“I think there is great opportunities still in the marketplace as Hereford genetics continue to gain more market share in the industry. The value of the black baldy is so versatile in a lot of different grids,” he remarked. “Refining and improving our genetic evaluation will be a focus so we can guarantee our breeders have the best tool and ensure commercial cattlemen are capturing the most value when they take advantage of those Hereford genetics.”
Learn more about AHA’s new and improved genetic evaluation system by listening to the full conversation between Bedwell and Horn, with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, on today’s Beef Buzz - brought to you by the American Angus Association. America’s breed.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is 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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