NALF has just completed its August board meeting in Denver. The August board meeting is typically centered around budgeting for the next fiscal year. Much of this year’s discussion was centered around positive items we can do as a breed in terms of marketing, promotion and research on our cattle thanks to membership registrations and transfer levels in spite of last year’s rate increase. The financials look very positive heading into the fiscal year end and by the time you read this this will be completed.
As a result, the board has approved a $15,000 increase in our national commercial marketing program which incorporates new advertising outlets in addition to maintaining our venues such as Superior, Working Ranch and DV Auction.
Even more critical, the board has approved new research on our cattle in conjunction with Kansas State University. Through this research we will be attempting to put Limousin sired calves, Lim-Flex and a control group of English based feeder cattle on feed to capture intake and feed conversion data. This will not only include group closeout and feed performance data but also a 60 day individual intake trial as well.
Our feed intake and conversion data is very dated. Your cattle have changed and improved dramatically the last 5 years and the board feels it is critical to document the Limousin advantage to the commercial industry with new valid research trials on our current cattle that can be used in a national advertising campaign as well.
We also plan to capture individual carcass data on the cattle to a logical slaughter end point to document the advantage’s of using both Limousin and Lim-Flex® sires into an English based commercial cowherd. This will hopefully document the following advantages we would expect to see at both the feedyard and packer segments of the beef industry
This year, NALF has had an increase of members who have enrolled in the LIMS, whole herd reporting program. The increased interest in LIMS was spurred by the LIMVision Cow Herd Project in partnership with Neogen. This collaborative effort with Neogen enables LIMS members to obtain more affordable 50K testing on their mature cowherds for the price of $24.00 per head versus the regular $55.00 retail price. To qualify, the member must submit DNA on 90% of their mature cows enrolled in LIMS to take advantage of the discounted price and can also receive an additional $3/head discount by submitting body condition scores and weights on their mature cows.
This lets a member genomically test the female portion of their herd or their “Cow Factory” at a more affordable price versus regular retail cost. This also qualifies that member to obtain that discounted rate every year on their replacement females to keep their cowherd current and achieve higher accuracy on their EPDs and expanded progeny equivalents acquired through genomic testing.
In the NALF herdbook, genomically enhanced testing has increased dramatically the past 3 years, but the bulk of this has been on bull sale offerings, A.I. sires and donor dams. To reach our full potential in an effort to increase expected mating accuracy, genotyping the female portion of our herd book is just as important. The increased progeny equivalents of 15-20 head on weight trait EPDs that are achieved with the IGS cattle evaluation when also incorporating performance and pedigree data has been a game changer for the seedstock industry.
As you are now aware, IGS recently released the long awaited new EPD set with adjustments to growth trait predictions referred to as “Work Order 1”. The updated marker panel subsets were applied to growth trait prediction models in addition to adjusting the milk EPD that was previously hurting our high growth young sires along with the exclusion of genomic marker effect on the milk EPD. This has been adjusted beneficially to not be as detrimental to those young, high growth low accuracy sires.
Over the last couple of years, the massive research undertaking has been going on to modernize the evaluation of growth traits (Birth Weight, Weaning Weight, Yearling Weight and Milk). Below, is a brief description of each update followed by the impact of these collective changes on NALF EPD. These changes are expected to be incorporated into the production run generated from IGS back on the week of August 17th.
The changes made include:
remove the genomic component for Milk. Even with the removal of this information, work done to judge the efficacy of EPDs, shows that the resulting EPDs from the updated model are an improvement over the previous evaluation.
Thanks to Wulf Cattle, NALF is also in the process of an exciting project to incorporate 1,000’s of records of actual carcass data harvested through Wulf’s BeefBuilder® program that will dramatically increase utilized sire accuracy of carcass trait data into the evaluation. Actual carcass trait data of cattle harvested to a logical slaughter endpoint is rare in seedstock evaluations.
NALF is in a unique position to capture carcass phenotypes to improve carcass trait EPD accuracies. NALF is blessed to have good portion of their membership that are also cattle feeders. Additional members are turning in actual slaughter data on cattle they have fed or customers cattle they have sold bulls too. This will incorporate more bloodlines across the herd book and get a better cross section of sires represented.
Until now, these phenotypes have mainly relied on ultrasound data for inclusion into the EPDs of yield grade, back fat, marbling and ribeye and carcass weight. Incorporating this actual kill data along with pedigree information will dramatically increase EPD accuracy for those traits and over time, increase progeny equivalents on genomically enhanced carcass EPDs as well.
The cattle business, and in particular the seedstock industry continues to evolve and improve at a rapid pace given the leap forward in DNA testing,(genomics) and improved single-step national cattle evaluations that have given the serious seedstock breeder the tools to make rapid genetic progress. NALF looks forward to working with the membership as we move ahead into a new era of seedstock cattle production over the next decade!
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.