Showing posts from June, 2018

BIF 2018: Experiences with Implementation of Single-Step at American Angus, One Year In

Steve Miller

Angus Genetics Inc has four research scientists. They do single-step genomic evaluations for Angus, Canadian Angus, Charolais, Canadian Charolais, and Maine-Anjou.

Angus switched to single-step on July 7th, 2017. Miller feels like the switch to single-step was a monumental switch, should have made the Time Magazine year in review!

When breeders see bulls re-rank, they then understand was a correlation of 0.9 really means! On July 7th, Steve Miller talked to two breeders. On July 8th he was feel cool and casual like Ferris Buller. The next week, then the calls came.
"I've seen this before, in a couple of months it will all blow over" a friend told Miller. And that proved true.

The switch to single-step was kind of like the stages of grief with getting a flat tire.
Quiet phase: Listening, evaluating, asking yourself if you have a flat tire.
Expressive phase: Cussing, kicking dirt, frustrated.
Have to Move Forward phase: Fixing the tire and getting back on the …

BIF 2018: How Does the Dairy Industry Handle Information?

Chuck Sattler
Vice President, Genetic Programs, Select Sires Inc.

Data is fuel for breed improvement programs. Data drives the machine. Noise in the data is like water in the fuel.

Data has value! However, individual records have very little data. We have to share data for it to achieve its value. "We are not good at investing in data. It's not sexy," Sattler said. We need to invest in data collection.

We need to share data thoughtfully. Have a written agreement and think strategically when sharing data.

Genomic evaluations are a big data success story! "We marvel at the technology that makes this all possible," he said. As much as it is a story about DNA technology, it is also a story about bring large amounts of data together. It is also a success of big data.

If we had to do it over again, dairy industry might re-think Dairy Recording Processing Centers. Dairy Recording Processing Centers control the data and sometimes the breeder's voice is not heard.


BIF 2018: Positioning for the Future of Beef Production, Bringing it All Together

John Pollak
Emeritus Professor, Cornell University

50 years is a milestone in time that provides an opportunity to reflect on accomplishments. It is also an opportunity to reset the clock.

The process for selection

Establish a goalCreate a breeding objectiveCollect data for traits defined in the objectiveUtilize the data to predict genetic merit(other steps I missed)

What was the goal to motivate selection we performed over the past 50 years?
Pollak could not identify a consistent goal over the last 50 years.

We can look at genetic trends and see that genetic change has been accomplished. Change has happened, but can we articulate the goal that lead to these changes?

What goal should motivate the selection we perform ove the next 50 years?
The temptation is to continue on perhaps the same path on before. Doing the same things better. We should avoid this.

If Pollak were to define the goal for the beef industry's breeding objective it would be increase the sustainability of beef prod…

BIF 2018: Focus on Traits Not Considered

Dorian Garrick
Professor and Chief Scientist, Massey University

This is a one bull or two bull meeting. This means it cost about the profit from one or two bulls to pay for the attendence of this meeting. Beef producers need to leave this meeting with information and thoughts about how they will change and improve their operation.

We would like to think that you use index selection, but we know that you are probably using independent culling levels or phenotypic selection. However, we can look at genetic trends to see how traits have changed.

Weaning weight and yearling weights have increased over time. However, the rate at which these growth traits were changing slowed in 1990, when ultrasound carcass measures were introduced. So, Hereford breeders were still selecting for growth, but were also putting emphasis on other traits.

An average 2017-born daughter eats $57 more feed per year than an average 1980 daughter. This possibly outweighs improvement in terminal profitability. Mature …

BIF 2018: Focus on Sustainability

Sara Place
Senior Director, Sustainable Beef Production Research, National Cattlemen's Beef Association

Does less beef mean less heat? Is meat, especially beef, not good for the planet?
We see the marketing of plant based burgers. We also see work for lab grown beef.

In the United States, agriculture and forestry are net carbon sinks (they capture carbon). In the US, beef is responsible for 2% of emissions. However, pasture is responsible for 3.9% of carbon capture. Agriculture is a net help in carbon emissions because of carbon capture! Further, carbon emissions are improving over time in agriculture.

However, the news media is not telling this story.

Emissions are not going down due to decreased consumption of beef. Emission are going down because of technology advancements. Productivity is a key driver in improving sustainability. We would need many more cattle, with much more emissions, if we produced cattle in 2017 they way we did in 1976.

If we continue on current trends, glob…

BIF 2018: Focus on Quality

Mark McCully
Vice President, Certified Angus Beef LLC

Within Certified Angus Beef they market over 1 billion pounds of beef and certify over 5 million cattle.

Quality can have a broad definition. For this talk, McCully will focus on Quality Grade (marbling).
Consumer satisfaction improves with high marbling. Beef with a Prime Quality Grade has a nearly 100% consumer satisfaction.
We have improved tenderness in the industry through multiple avenues (genetics, management, beef handling, beef cutting and processing). Because of improvement in tenderness, McCully feels marbling becomes even more important.

The percent of cattle that are grading Choice and Prime has increased over the past 10 years. For a long time we were increasing carcass weight with little change in quality grade. In the last ten years, we have seen a significant improvement in quality grades.

We have increased the amount of Prime beef pounds by 92.8%. We have increased Premium Choice by 72%. Select quality grades have …

BIF 2018: Efficient Red Meat Production

Michael Genho
Elanco Animal Health

From the business dictionary, efficiency is "the comparison of what is actually produced or performed with what can be acheived with the same consumption of resources (money, time, labor, etc.)"

Production Metrics

Feed Conversion RatioResidual Feed Intake

What's missing?
Level of input and output.
What is the optimal within a given context?

These (FCR and RFI) fail to take economic situation into account.

Elanco has a calculator to measure the optimal days on feed.
In an example, feeding a set of cattle for 28 more days would have been more profitable because of increased margin profit from the gain of those cattle. This was true even though the feed conversion of this pen would have gotten worse over those 4 weeks.

Elanco is working to help customers move up the analytical ladder. Move from standard close outs to statistical analyses to predictive analyses.

Elanco looked at drivers of closeout profitability comparing lots to other lots i…

BIF 2018: GeneSeek Genomics Symposium

Stewart Bauck
Neogen Vice President of Agrigenomics

This is the 50th aniversary of the BIF Symposium. Fifteen years ago at BIF, the sequencing of Dominette for the first cattle genome sequence was announced.
GeneSeek now has laboratories all over the world. They have worked with customers and collaborators to develop over 50 custom assays (DNA tests).

There are 3 pillars of GeneSeek's success:

High quality dataFast Turn-Around TimeFair Pricing
Dr. Mitch Abrahamsen Executive Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer Recombinetics Precision Breeding for Animal Health and Productivity: What does it take to deploy technology in the market place?
Recombinetics has 3 product lines. Two are focused on applications of gene-editing to human medicine.  The agriculture product is called Acceligen. Acceligen uses gene editing to move DNA variants from one breed to a different breed.  Recombinetics has 22 patents.  To date, all genetic progress is the result of traditional animal breeding programs. Mat…