NALF is looking forward to the partnership with Limousin 365 as they begin to publish the ‘Official Publication of the Limousin Breed’ at the beginning of the new year. NALF will have article contribution in the Limousin 365 print publications but will also keep the membership updated electronically through the weekly E-Partners, as well as the “Limousin Latest” blog that Mallory Blunier has started online. The blog will update membership on Limousin happenings, feature ranch stories, showcase our recent projects, and have sale and show reports posted. Don’t miss a thing, and sign up for our new post alerts.
National Western is fast approaching as we head towards the end of the 2019. We look forward to seeing you in Denver as we prepare for our cattle shows, annual meeting and National Limousin Sale. Please contact the sale management team of Ken Holloway, Kiley Mckinna, Randy Ratliff, or Mark Smith if you have cattle or embryos you wish to consign to the sale.
NALF was also at the meeting in Montana for International Genetic Solutions members during October. It is apparent that the cooperative effort for genetic herd evaluation that incorporates single-step computation of genomics in weekly EPD evaluations continues to grow. Currently, there are 17 breed associations that are participating now which is up from the original 13 breed associations upon the launch.
It is apparent in visiting with other associations that the uptake of enhancing EPDs with genomic testing has taken a strong foothold in other associations as well. Most folks are realizing the increase in accuracy as a result of the 50 and 150K test that’s letting folks identify early which cattle they want to promote and propagate within their own herds, as well as those they may wish to cull. It is also apparent that the marketplace is increasingly demanding that the cattle be genomically enhanced prior to purchase for insight into the animals genetic potential before they make an investment.
Since the advent of genomics there has been some decline in folks turning in performance data which is definitely not the thing to do. It is important to remember that the new cattle evaluations rely on 4 things to deliver EPD accuracy. Performance data turn in, particularly on weight traits and ultrasound data, pedigree’s, progeny data, and genomics. Genomics are not singularly the answer to an animals genetic potential. Actually, new marker effects that are updated to be incorporated into future runs rely on accurate performance data turn in and makes the marker effects more accurate. The need for performance data still exist and is just as important as it was prior to the advent of genomics.
It was also apparent the IGS will continue to add additional EPD traits to the evaluation over time. Heifer pregnancy, feed efficiency and a system to evaluate structural soundness are on the horizon as well. The IGS data base is the largest in the world now with nearly 19 million animals in the database due to the cooperation of 17 breed associations. Limousin contributes over 2 million of those animal records. The ability of a commercial cattle buyer to compare EPDs across the board evenly through those 17 breeds is a valuable asset to each cooperator. This is even more the case today with so many of those customers involved in a commercial crossbreeding program to take advantage of heterosis in todays tough commercial cattle market.
You will also be seeing an update to the original BOLT release in the near future. The science team at IGS built the BOLT system to take advantage of new features and upgrade of the weekly cattle spins. New genomic marker effects will be updated given the tremendous amount of cattle that have been enhanced the last 2 years as well as heterogeneous breed variance updates. This should occur sometime in early 2020.
Another game changer for EPD accuracy that will occur is the data that is being prepared to be incorporated the EPD runs is the inclusion of actual carcass slaughter data, the majority of this will be coming from Limousin members that have had the ability to track their cattle through harvest facilities that have known parentage and are individually identified with EID tags to collect actual carcass weight, ribeye size, backfat and marbling along with other data points to be incorporated into the evaluations. This will tremendously increase accuracy of the carcass trait EPDs and up the progeny equivalents for those traits when the cattle are genomically enhanced as well.
Commercial producers are slowly becoming more educated and inquisitive about the advancements made in DNA testing over the last 5 years as well. I am getting more calls from those commercial producers inquiring about the use of genomics in the seedstock business and how they can utilize it as well. Recently, I was asked by the Colorado Livestock Association (CLA) to speak to their membership at their regional seminar in November about the increase of genomic testing in the seedstock business and the technology that is being used by Limousin breeders as they mate and produce seedstock for the commercial cattle business.
CLA’s membership that consist of cattle feeders, cow/calf producers as well as dairymen are realizing the positive impact it could have on their operations as they look to lower production cost with genetically superior performing cattle. The dairy industry has long been a user of the genomic testing services that are available to their business and are now seeing the beef industry come onboard as well.
The future continues to evolve and change in the race for economical food production systems that keep a producer profitable in a business that typically survives on tight margins in today’s competitive marketplace.
Stay tuned and stay engaged.
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.