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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 either at a year of age o…

Selection Decisions

Use Information Extracted from Data to Breed a Better Calf Crop and Cow HerdHere is a fun conversation starter on your next visit to the coffee shop or diner. What is the most important trait in cattle production? What trait do you think is most important? Another way to ask this question, how do you define a "good" cow?
In a typical group of cattle producers, you will get a lot of different answers. One person will say weaning weight and another will say marbling. A third may say calving ease, "Gotta have a live calf." A fourth may say fertility. But, why are these different traits important? Because they affect the profitability of beef operations! Profit is the most important trait in beef production. The profitability of a bull's or cow's calves should be our number one criterion when selecting breeding stock. 
How many beef producers go to a bull sale to buy a load of soil or a bag of feed? In other words, do we go to a bull sale to buy the environment? …

Angus TV: Hair Shedding Research EPD Developed

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We will have a scientific article describing the hair shedding research soon. Work was completed by Harly Durbin during her time at Angus Genetics Inc. as an intern.

Directional Selection and Local Adaptation in Beef Cattle

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My group has posted a new preprint on bioRxiv.  You can check it out here: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.11.988121 Warning, it is written for a technical audience, not in cowboy terms.
So- what are the take-home messages for farmers and ranchers? We can identify the DNA variants responding to your selection decisions.You tend to select cattle that have better immune systems.Hormone production in the ovaries is under selection in Red Angus. Makes sense based on the breed's focus on fertility.Muscle development is under selection in Gelbvieh. We can identify the DNA variants that lead to cattle adapted to their environmentBlood vessel tightening or loosening is under environmental selection.The brain and neuron signaling is an important part of environmental adaptation.We are losing local adaptation in beef cattle.Check out this Twitter thread to see figures from the paper. https://twitter.com/pop_gen_JED/status/1258786262149808131
Regarding the last point, we can fix the loss of local …

CIC 2020: Precision Breeding and You Don't Need a GPS

Darrh Bullock
University of Kentucky

Precision agriculture has come to various industries. Luckily, there are already tools to do precision breeding in beef cattle.

Let's talk about farm/ranch goals.
For example, our goals may be to

Support two familiesKeep workers safeEffectively use the resources we have
Breeding objectives are genetically influenced objectives to help achieve farm and ranch goals. In Darrh's opinion, breeding objectives should impact the quality of life of the farm and ranch owners and workers. These objectives should improve economic, social, welfare and convenience factors of a farm. Certain traits in our breeding objective will allow us to be more efficient and have a smaller environmental impact. Other traits will be in our breeding objective simply because they make our life more convenient.

Darrh pointed out that production efficiency is the key. The beef industry needs to reduce the amount of mature size and milk so that cows are more efficient. This …

CIC 2020: Practical Nutrition Management - Supplementing Forages on a Budget

Eric Bailey State Beef Nutrition Specialist, University of Missouri
"Let's start with the pain point," Bailey said. In the last 20 years, we have more than doubled cow costs. However, outside of 2014, we have not seen feed calf prices keep up with cow costs.
At $800 per year cow cost, we need to make $1.60 per pound on a 5 weight steer.
Bailey will cover 3 topics: Match feed with needSupplementing based on limiting nutrientCost effective supplement selection Matching Feed with Need A part of matching feed with need is having seasonally-appropriate calving. Bailey draws a distiction between winter calving (before February 1) and Spring calving. We often lump winter-calving with spring calving, but if you calve before February 1, you are likely not matching your calving to forage availability.
With warm-season forages, until May, the nutritional requirements of the cow are much higher than supplied by grasses. This means we have to spend money supplementing. 
"The body …

5 Tips to Help Ensure Cow Longevity

Developing and maintaining a herd with the key profit driver
By Rebecca Mettler
Reprint from the Joplin Stockyards Cattlemen's News.

Cow longevity is a key profit driver in cow-calf operations. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if a producer has purchased the perfect bull for their operation if the cows remain open because of poor cowherd fertility. Instead, developing and maintaining a herd with enhanced longevity should be a top item on producers’ minds when setting goals for the new year ahead.
While proper nutrition and sound vaccination protocols for reproductive diseases are essential pieces of the puzzle, producers should also focus on making genetic improvements to fertility and other longevity related factors.
Too often when producers looking at genetic predictions, e.g., expected progeny differences (EPDs) and indexes, they look at growth and carcass traits. But as an industry, we often don’t think about traits to improve our long-term employees—our cows, ac…