Genomic testing in the cattle business celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. While the dairy sector has dominated this field, beef producers are quickly catching up as more producers and companies continue to invest in this technology to improve their animals and industry
Operations of all sizes and different segments of the industry have found a use for genomics in some practical capacity. Beyond the obvious applications, such as increased profits or efficiency, genomics has a role in the future generation of your farm or ranch and the Limousin breed.
At this year’s virtual Beef Improvement Federation Conference, Dr. Daniela Lourenco of the University of Georgia shared findings from her 2018 research on genomic testing in Angus cattle. One of her take home messages was the importance of widespread data submission and collection.
When 52,000 animals were genotyped on a 50,000 SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) chip, the accuracy of EPD records increased by 25%. When 335,000 animals were genotyped, that increased to 36%. She attributed this increase because this was new, non-redundant information being added.
As you likely already know, genomic testing has accelerated the advancement of young sires and their genetic progress. Genotyping can increase accuracy of these animals equal to having 10 to 30 daughters on the ground.
The accuracy of these tests and the resulting genomically enhanced EPDs (GE-EPDs) varies by few different things. Some, such as heritability of a certain trait, are out of human control. But factors such as number of recorded animals, number of reported performance records, accuracy of reported records and type of test used can very much be controlled by breeders and breed associations.
Commercial producers and those who sell terminal animals also have reason to be vested in genomic developments. As part of an NCBA breed association panel discussion, Mark Anderson, NALF executive director, noted the importance for commercial producers to look at seedstock producers and their programs.
“Those are the folks who have spent a lot of time and turned in a lot of data over the years and they tend to be on the front end of genomic enhancement,” he said.
Thanks to the breeders who have been investing in genomics for some time now, accuracy continues to improve by leaps and bounds. Now, it’s in the hands of the industry to continue genotyping and utilize this reliable information.
Beyond your own operation, an investment in genomics is also an investment in the vitality of the Limousin breed. Although we’ve had this technology for over a decade, there is consistently new information that we continue to investigate and uncover.
For example, some genomic research out of France earlier this year looked at 10 unrelated Limousin bull calves to identify regions and polymorphisms and found 13,943,766 variants. They were also able to pinpoint some causative regulatory polymorphisms to better understand the mechanisms and targets within artificial selections. This can help better interpret genomic-wide association studies for the breed.
The besides enhancing EPDs and helping with decisions, breeder genotyping builds the database for similar breed-specific genomic research to come down the road. Coupled with breed association participation and good recordkeeping, the genomic accuracy is sure to keep the future of the Limousin breed very bright.
Limousin cattle deliver to your bottom line. With superior genetics, a simple crossbreeding plan and state-of-the-art selection tools, the Limousin breed will serve profit-minded cow/calf producers. In today’s competitive markets, taking advantage of all available opportunities is key. The Limousin breed offers a variety of options from Fullblood to Purebred to the Lim-Flex® hybrid (Limousin x Angus cross) to match your program’s needs and market goals. Crossbreeding for the right blend of muscle, maternal ability and profit is easy with Limousin seedstock.