Genetic Testing Can Help Ranchers Select Commercial Cows that Will Go the Distance

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Kevin Milliner about beef genetics.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is talking with Zoetis Cattle Genetics Specialist, Kevin Milliner, about beef genetics.

Milliner has been working with beef genetics for 19 years and says genetic testing passed the experimental stage many years ago and is now a proven technology. Genetic testing, he added, is a tool to be utilized to build a better cow herd regardless of the type of operation.

While many believe the use of genetic testing is only a good tool for registered breeders, Milliner said as a commercial producer himself, he sees great value in this technology.

“I almost think it is probably more beneficial to the commercial producer, simply because we don’t know a whole lot about that commercial female,” Milliner said. “The advent of genomic enhanced EPDs that we have with the registered folks- they know tons of information about both the bull and the cow.”

The benefit of commercial genetic testing, Milliner said, is seeing the genetic potential of a cow, aside from what can be seen on the outside.

“It gives us the chance to lift the hood up on that female and see what kind of horsepower she has,” Milliner said. “She may look the part, but underneath the hood, she just didn’t have the horsepower to get it done.”

Now that producers have dialed down the size of their cowherds because of the drought, Milliner said when they begin to build back those herds, it is the opportune time to utilize genetic testing.

“If we are going to put more cows into production, we want to make sure they are the right cows,” Milliner said. “Those cows that do have the horsepower to accomplish whatever goals that operation may have.”

As the cost of raising these cattle is expensive enough, Milliner said it is not affordable to take chances on those who may not have what it takes to go the distance.

Zoetis offers genetic testing solutions for cow-calf producers at

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR at the top of the story for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

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