Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays is back talking with the Chief Executive Officer of the American Angus Association, Mark McCully, about the genetic information available to cattle producers.
“The ‘toolbox’ we have available to cattlemen today, whether you are a seed stock producer or a commercial producer- we have such a better ability to describe genetic merit than we ever have,” McCully said. “That has been on the backs of our registered breeders, who have been collecting data for a really long time. We have got the largest single-breed database in the American Angus Association, and then we couple that with the power of genomics, and it has really allowed us to build EPDs and selection indexes that do a really predictable job.”
While change is hard, McCully complimented Angus breeders and said they have always embraced technology.
Regarding gene editing technology, McCully said while it holds tremendous potential, this technology could also be classified as a disruptive innovation.
“It holds a lot of promise, but with that comes some questions,” McCully said.
Some of those questions, McCully said, include the risks, labeling, consumer questions, and more.
“It is a topic that we have to learn a lot about, we have to think a lot about, but I see the innovation coming,” McCully said. “It is accelerating at a pretty fast pace. I see it in other species, so it is hard for me to imagine that it is not one of those technologies that are going to eventually emerge within the cattle industry and within the livestock industry.”
In any industry, McCully said, new innovations and technologies are becoming more present each day. When it comes to genetic selection, McCully said there are many different factors that technology can play a key role in improving.
“When we can start pulling all of that data together with the ability of the computing power we have today, cloud-based storage, and artificial intelligence, I think we are going to be able to solve a lot of these questions and answer a lot of these questions…,” McCully said.
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