More On Genomics


   I mentioned earlier that some heifers in the SMS program have had a genomic (DNA) prediction run on them. A genomic prediction provides the same amount of information as if the male or female had actual performance on 10 to 20 calves. The sample can be collected on a day-old calf and is included in their EPD’s. The results enhance the accuracy of their EPD’s from maybe a 0.25 up to a 0.35. This may not seem like a big help but it is.
   The whole DNA testing can be confusing as many of the tests are breed specific. Most of the panels seem to be designed towards high percentage Angus. There are some Red Angus specific and one called Igenity Silver states it predicts calving ease maternal, stayability, residual feed intake, average daily gain, tenderness and marbling. The recommended breeds for this are Angus, Red Angus, Simmental, Limousin, Gelbvieh, Hereford or crosses of these breeds. The scores for each trait are reported on a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being favorable.
   One Red Angus panel (75 percent Red Angus or greater) has a wide array of traits and the scale is from 99 to 1. 50 is average, 99 the poorest and 1 being highest.
   Another option is an index approach reported in dollars. It gives a maternal production index, quality pounds index and retained ownership index. These indexes incorporate several values into one value that should give guidance in making breeding and marketing decisions.
   The name of the game in beef selection is objective data guided with actual performance weights, measures and genomic predictions. Don’t stop weighing calves at weaning and one year of age. ∆
   ELDON COLE: Extension Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri
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