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Dr. Jamie Courter is your Mizzou Beef Genetics Extension Specialist

By Jared E. Decker Many of you have probably noticed that things have been a lot less active on the A Steak in Genomics™   blog, but you probably haven't known why. In January 2021, I was named the Wurdack Chair in Animal Genomics at Mizzou, and I now focus on research, with a little bit of teaching. I no longer have an extension appointment. But, with exciting news, the blog is about to become a lot more active! Jamie Courter began as the new MU Extension state beef genetics specialist in the Division of Animal Sciences on September 1, 2023. I have known Jamie for several years, meeting her at BIF when she was a Masters student. I have been impressed by Jamie in my interactions with her since that time.  Dr. Courter and I have been working closely together the last 6 weeks, and I am excited to work together to serve the beef industry for years to come! Jamie holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from North Carolina State University and earned a master's degree in animal

Red Angus Releases Herd Navigator DNA test

The Red Angus Association of America has enabled more particular selection of Red Angus commercial females. The Herd Navigator reports breed percentile ranks for the RAAA HerdBuilder and GridMaster indexes, plus 13 EPD traits. The percentile ranks mean a score of 50 is average, a score of 1 is in the top 1 percent (cream of the crop) and a score of 99 is in the bottom 1 percent (bottom of the barrel). The interpretation of these percentile rankings is the same as Red Angus EPDs but is opposite to other commercial heifer panels. The test is marketed for $25 per female. The producer is required to own at least one registered Red Angus bull and the registration must be transferred to the producer (or show involvement with RAAA, such as large semen orders). If the possible sires of the females have been genotyped at GeneSeek for genomic-enhanced EPDs, then the parentage of the females will also be reported to the commercial producer. This is helpful if the commercial producer has used a combination of A.I. and a clean-up bull or multiple-sire pastures.
The HerdBuilder and GridMaster indexes allow a producer to select for profit, i.e. the producer selects to increase revenue and decrease costs. The HerdBuilder index is used if replacement females will be retained from the calf crop. The GridMaster index is used if the entire calf crop will be feed out for beef. Even though the HerdBuilder index accounts for raising replacement females it uses all available traits from conception to slaughter and weights each trait by its economic importance. Economic indexes are the optimal method of multiple trait selection. While the producer can set cutoffs for a small number of traits, such as calving ease or milk, the animals that meet those cutoffs should be ranked by the appropriate economic index.
Although the Herd Navigator is based on several thousands of DNA variants, through a process called imputation, the producer gets basically the same amount of information as the Red Angus RA50K genomic prediction test.
Previously, commercial breeders selected heifers based on age, weight, or perhaps the genetics of the sire. Now, commercial producers using Red Angus genetics can select heifers based on a variety of traits that match their production goals. The Red Angus Herd Navigator test joins a growing list of commercial heifer genomic prediction panels.

For more information see:
Herd Navigator Guiding Commercial Female Selection
Guiding Commercial Female Selection - Red Angus Association of America Releases Herd Navigator


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