While EPDs have been utilized for many years, genomic EPDs offer a new world of opportunity to the beef cattle industry. Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is back visiting with the Chief Executive Officer of the Red Angus Association, Tom Brink, about the value the Red Angus industry has found in genomics.
Having the ability to take a sample of DNA from a seedstock animal and use the information within that sample to enhance the resulting EPDs, Brink said, is incredibly valuable.
“We can add significant intel, if you want to call it that, early on in an animal’s life and have more accurate EPDs on very young animals,” Brink said. “That helps us make better breeding decisions.”
On an annual basis, Brink said around 30 percent of registered Red Angus cattle are genomically tested. That number, he added, grows each year.
Genomic testing helps to publish more accurate EPDs, Brink said, which is good for commercial cattlemen buying genomically tested bulls that have more accurate EPDs, as well as the female side, which lays the foundation for the next generation.
Brink said he urges commercial producers to consider testing their replacement heifer candidates and using the information to help them fine-tune their final picks.
“Commercial DNA testing can always add to our knowledge and understanding of the heifers we are putting back in the herd,” Brink said.
Looking ahead to the next three to five years, Brink said the Red Angus Association is pushing for the Red Angus breed to be included in more Angus brands.
“Red Angus is Angus,” Brink said. “That is who we are genetically, and of course, black Angus and Red Angus have common ancestry, and yet Red Angus historically has not been included in as many branded beef programs that have the name Angus on it.”
The market is going to need quality, Brink said, and Red Angus brings quality marbling to the table.
Brink also mentioned the Red Choice female program launched by the Red Angus Association. The program embraces proven reproductive and genetic management practices which, in turn, lead to high-quality, long-lasting females that are ready to hit the ground running in commercial herds.
“Groups of commercial females that go through that program are truly going to be value-added females that can serve the producer for a long time,” Brink said.
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