Tuesday, March 6, 2018

It's All in the Genes!

The power of DNA technology is limitless in the beef industry! Producers have the capability to unlock incredibly valuable knowledge corresponding to their livestock that allows them to make more informed mating and culling decisions. One of these great tools is the RA50K. The RA50K is a tool that analyzes over 50,000 locations on an animal’s genome. The data collected is then incorporated into the animal’s EPDs. These EPDs then become much more accurate, especially when the RA50K is performed on unproven animals such as virgin bulls or heifers. The main benefit of utilizing the RA50K technology is the improved accuracy. Accuracy is a measure of how correct EPD information will accurately portray an animal’s true genetic merit. This value ranges from 0 to 99, with 99 being the most accurate. These accuracies can be improved not only with the RA50K, but also performance data such as birth, weaning, and yearling weights, as well as stayability and carcass traits. The accuracy improvements can be shown in the diagram below provided by the RAAA’s Rancher’s Guide to 50K article. Another benefit of the RA50K is the parentage verification. While most often the sire can be predicted if AI technology or single-sire breeding groups are used, sometimes the bull jumps the fence or a cow gets sorted incorrectly when heading to pasture. This parentage verification helps decrease the parentage error within the database that sometimes happens due to these mistakes. This leads to more accurate data for all to utilize. The RA50K is only one of many different genomic tools used in the Red Angus breed. Producers have the option to utilize high-density, low-density, and ultra-low-density genomic panels through GeneSeek as well as the i50K test through Zoetis. These DNA samples can be collected through blood, hair, semen, or tissue samples and are the first step to accessing a wealth of knowledge that not only will improve the quality of your herd, but the Red Angus breed and beef industry as a whole through improved genetic accuracy.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Winter Nutrition

With cold and windy conditions outside, it is very important to makes sure your cattle have the right nutrition and shelter. This can look a lot different depending on where you live and what the conditions are like. However, the LiveWiRED calves are in Lathrop, Missouri. In Lathrop, they can have severe cold temperatures, dangerous wind chills and snow, which can be extremely hard on cattle if they are not treated right.
When it gets cold cattle naturally increase their body heat production, by increasing there heart rate, respiration and blood flow. They also eat more to get more energy. Cattle prepare for cold temperatures months before, by growing longer hair and changing their metabolism. This is what the cattle do during the cold months and before, but it is also very important that we provide a place that is dry and out of the wind and the right feed.
When the temperature is 17 degrees Fahrenheit outside, a cow that has a dry winter hair coat need about 15% more energy. While a cow with a completely wet or matted down with mud hair coat needs 40% more energy than in moderate conditions. This makes a big difference, in the amount of feed needed. So it is important to have a place that is dry and out of the wind. This could be a shed or a windbreak that protects the cows from the wind. It is also important to have bedding. It helps keep the cattle clean and gives insulation from the snow and frozen ground.
During cold and windy conditions it is very important to feed the right nutrition to your animals. This includes providing all the hay they will clean up, silage, grain, protein supplements, and mineral mixes. If calving in the winter or spring it is crucial to give adequate protein 60 days before giving birth. This is for the development of the unborn calf and colostrum formation. Winter conditions can be very hard on cattle, but with the right nutrition and shelter, it can make it a lot easier.

Friday, November 10, 2017

November LiveWiRED Update

In the months of July and August, 48 LiveWiRED calves were born. 27 heifers and 21 bulls out of seven different sires reside in Lathrop, Missouri. Tissue sampling will take place the 25th of November and the collection of other data is already underway. Birth weights ranged from 50 to 85 lbs. 26 of the calves are out of high end bell curve bulls and 22 of them are out of low end bell curve bulls. More information and data will be available in the coming weeks.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

LiveWiRED Calves Entering Third Trimester

The LiveWiRED embryo calves are growing like weeds! These calves have been implanted for 6 months and are just about to enter the third trimester of pregnancy. To put their size in perspective, they are approximately the size of a beagle dog according to University of Florida research.  While the first and second trimesters are very important for development, the third trimester is where the calf grows in size the most. Check out this short article by SDSU Extension on Fetal Development! What's Going on in There? : Fetal Development of Beef Cattle

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Data is in! Dam and Sire DNA and EPD Overview

The results are in! As we kick off the Live | WiRED project, take some time to review the EPDs and DNA of the Dam and Sires involved in the project.

Live WiRED Project
Dam  Sire H1  Sire H2 Sire H3 Expected Progeny Average Progeny Genomic Progress*
Top Dollar Angus Qualified** No Yes Yes Yes No
Igenity ADG Score (1-10) 4 8 7 9 6.0 2.0   Notable improvement
Igenity Marbling Score (1-10) 3 7 6 7 4.8 1.8   Notable improvement
Zoetis Marbling Score (0-100) 57 87 73 69 66.7 9.7   Improvement
Zoetis Yield Grade Score (0-100) 47 27 16 35 36.5 -10.5   Modest Drop
GridMaster Index 53 52 53
Marb EPD 0.78 0.84 0.71
YG EPD 0.04 0.24 -0.22
Dam Sire L1 Sire L2 Expected Progeny Average Progeny Genomic Progress*
Top Dollar Angus Qualified** No No No No
Igenity ADG Score (1-10) 4 6 4 4.5 0.5   Minimal improvement
Igenity Marbling Score (1-10) 3 3 3 3.0 0.0   No improvement
Zoetis Marbling Score (0-100) 57 54 54 55.5 -1.5   Slight Drop
Zoetis Yield Grade Score (0-100) 47 29 33 41.7 -5.3   Modest Drop
GridMaster Index 46 48
Marb EPD 0.21 -0.10
YG EPD -0.10 -0.01
*Progeny compared to dam.
**Igenity ADG and Marbling scores must average 6.25 or higher to qualify.
  Igenity DNA Summary:
  Penny scores a 4 in ADG, which is slightly below average.
  Her marbling score of 3 is quite low, but not unusual for the Gelbvieh breed.
  Our high-end bulls are strong in ADG, scoring from 7 to 9.
  They are also above average for marbling, with scores of 6 and 7.
  Our two low-end sires average in the middle for ADG (scores of 6 and 4).
  These two sires are quite weak in Mabling for the Red Angus breed (both scoring only 3/10).
  Zoetis DNA Summary:
  Penny scores a 57 in mabling, which is slightly above the test population midpoint. She is not expected to be very high, being a purebred Gelbvieh.
  Penny scores a 47 in yield grade, which is highest of the group. This is expected because she is a Gelbvieh female.
  Our high-end bulls are stronger in marbling, ranging from 69 to 87.
  Our high-end bulls are range from 16 to 35 for yield grade.
  Our two low-end sires score slightly below Penny for marbling (both at 54). These are quite low in Marbling for being Red Angus sires.
  Our two low-end Red Angus sires also score pretty low for yield grade (well below average).

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Announcing Live | WiRED…Tracking Red Angus EPDs in Action

The Junior Red Angus
Meet "Penny" the Donor
board is excited about a unique opportunity to explore EPDs over the next three years in a project featuring the progeny of Penny, a Gelbvieh Cow flushed to selected sires representing both EPD high bell curve and low bell curve Red Angus sires. The goal of the project is to isolate the genetic differences of the bulls and demonstrate EPDs through evaluating two sets of calves from birth through harvest (25 head per sire group). The tracking of these progeny will be a platform for integrated EPD education and exploration throughout the upcoming Junior Red Angus activities and events.