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Hereford and Red Angus Heifers Recruited for Genomics Research

The University of Missouri is recruiting 2,500 Hereford heifers and 2,500 Red Angus heifers to participate in a heifer puberty and fertility genomic research project. Heifers should be registered Hereford, registered Red Angus, or commercial Hereford or Red Angus. Hereford x Red Angus crossbred heifers targeted for the Premium Red Baldy Program would also be a good fit for the research project. Producers must be willing to work with a trained veterinarian to collect the following data: ReproductiveTract Scores collected at a pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. PelvicMeasurements (height and width) collected at the same pre-breeding exam 30 to 45 days prior to the start of the breeding season. Pregnancy Determination Using Ultrasound reporting fetal age in days. Ultrasound will need to occur no later than 90 days after the start of the breeding season. In addition, heifers must have known birth dates and have weights recorded eithe

Caleb Grohmann Selected for the Future Leaders for Food and Agriculture (FFAR) Fellowship

Caleb Grohmann, a PhD student in informatics and data science, was selected as a Future Leaders for Food and Agriculture (FFAR) Fellow by Kate Preston Caleb Grohmann, a PhD student in informatics and data science, was selected as a Future Leaders for Food and Agriculture (FFAR) Fellow. Each year the FFAR Fellowship selects PhD students from universities around the country. Grohmann was selected for the 2021-24 cohort. “The FFAR Fellowship is a great opportunity to network with other PhD students from different universities,” said Grohmann. “Everyone has such diverse backgrounds and it’s been interesting to learn about everyone’s research.” Grohmann, who is originally from Red Bud, Illinois, grew up on a commercial hog operation, Cedar Ridge Farms. His family produces commercial breeding stock that they sell internationally and domestically. “Growing up on a farm, that’s where my passion for animal agriculture began. More specifically, my passion for commercial pig production,” said Gr

Cattle losing adaptations to environmental stressors, MU researchers find

Research highlights the need for cattle genetic tests that can look for the presence of specific adaptations, such as heat resistance. Read the research article at . Written by Austin Fitzgerald As a fourth-generation cattle farmer, Jared Decker knows that cattle suffer from health and productivity issues when they are taken from one environment--which the herd has spent generations adapting to--to a place with a different climate, a different elevation or even different grass. But as a researcher at the University of Missouri, Decker also sees an opportunity to use science to solve this problem, both to improve the welfare of cattle and to plug a leak in a nearly $50 billion industry in the U.S. “When I joined MU in 2013, I moved cattle from a family farm in New Mexico to my farm here in Missouri,” said Decker, an associate professor and Wurdack Chair in Animal Genomics at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “New Mexico

Brangus Journal: Hair Shedding Scores in Brangus Cattle

 You can visit the Brangus Journal to read an article Harly Durbin and Jared Decker wrote about hair shedding scores in Brangus cattle.

Beef Producers Could Have More Precise Way to Manage and Select Herds in the Future, Thanks to Collaboration Between Engineering, CAFNR

by   Janese Heavin Beef producers in the future could have a more precise way to determine the productivity of their cattle, thanks to a collaboration between Mizzou Engineering and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). “The goal is to maximize intake versus the output such as meat production,” said  Guilherme DeSouza . “From an engineering point of view, we want to optimize the process.” DeSouza is an associate professor of  electrical engineering and computer science  (EECS). He is working with  Jared Decker , an associate professor for CAFNR. Decker recently received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture for the work. The project aims to provide a better understanding of how a herd’s environment and management impact productivity, Decker said. Researchers will predict factors such as a cow’s size—surface area to volume ratio—skeletal structure, fat resources and hair coat using 3-D image data.

The Genetics of Fertility: Existing and Developing Tools

My hat is off to the Oklahoma State University Beef Extension team for putting together an excellent  Rancher's Thursday Lunchtime Series to continue to provide information during the pandemic.  I had the pleasure to present in the series with a talk titled "The Genetics of Fertility: Existing and Developing Tools". You can access the slides here: You can watch a recording of the presentation below. Red Angus and Hereford producers interested in heifer puberty and fertility research should check out the following pages to learn how to get free genomic-enhanced EPDs by participating in the project. Again, thanks to Dave Lalman for inviting me to present.

Hair Shedding and Ecoregion-specific Growth: Harly Durbin's PhD Defense Seminar

 On December 3rd, Harly Durbin, a PhD student in my group, successfully defended her PhD dissertation. You can watch a video of her public seminar, in which she discusses hair shedding and genotype-by-environment interactions for growth.  Congratulations Harly!

You're Invited! PhD Defense Seminars

  It has been a very busy fall for the Decker Computational Genomics Group ! This will be capped off by two PhD defenses the first week of December.  “Leveraging Large-scale Beef Cattle Genomic Data to Identify the Architecture of Polygenic Selection  and Local Adaptation” Presented by: Troy Rowan December 1st, 2020 at 1 pm CST Seminar will be presented on Zoom . In January, Troy will be starting as an assistant professor with a focus on beef genomics research and extension at University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.  "Genomics of Seasonal Hair Shedding and Ecoregion-Specific Growth to Identify Environmentally-Adapted Beef Cattle" Presented by: Harly Durbin December 3rd, 2020 at 12 pm CST Seminar will be presented on Zoom .  In January, Harly will be continuing in my group as a postdoctoral researcher. We appreciate all of the support and collaboration from the beef industry that has made this research possible. Further, research would not have been possible without