Tech Two Project

Wes Ishmael discusses results from our Technology Two-Step (Tech Two) project. Full details on this project can be found here.

Beef Cattle Genomics Come Full Circle

By Wes Ishmael
Beef magazine and
December 2, 2014

"A lot of people spend so much time and effort on things that don't have anything to do with making money in the cattle business," says Mark Gardiner of Gardiner Angus Ranch (GAR) at Ashland, Kan. "It's not too complicated. It involves calves that are born alive, grow efficiently, sell at a good pay weight when sold ahead of the feedlot or as a premium carcass through retained ownership, and leave a sister in the herd that will replicate it all again."

Moreover, Gardiner says accomplishing this goal with genetics is just as straightforward.

"The old technology of using proven, high accuracy bulls through artificial insemination [AI] works exceedingly well," Gardiner says. His family is a longtime proponent of embracing technology and stacking proven genetics in the name of accelerated genetic progress. Likewise, Tom Brink, founder of Top Dollar Angus (TDA) says, "I've never seen a time when we have more ability to control our future than we have in the industry today. A lot of what we've been wishing for the last 20 years is beginning to bear fruit."

Brink is talking about the reliability of long-standing genetic selection tools and good old fashioned reproduction technology. But, he's also referring to the coming of age for genomic tools that yield direct economic benefit.

A recently completed study suggested by Brink and undertaken by GAR and Zoetis Genetics illustrates the point. Dubbed the Technology Two-Step (Tech 2) project, GAR and Brink purchased 104 single-source, run-of-the-mill, mixed breed, yearling commercial heifers in spring 2012. Zoetis tested DNA from individual heifers and estimated their genetic merit for marbling as a molecular value prediction (MVP). Read the entire article.

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