Genomic Data Works Alongside Performance Records to Optimize Cow-Calf Operation Production

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Kelli Retallick-Riley about the latest genomic advancements in the Angus industry

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays is back talking with Kelli Retallick-Riley, the President of Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI), a subsidiary of the American Angus Association. Retallick-Riley talks about the latest genomic advancements in the Angus industry.

To hear part 1 of the conversation with Kelli Retallick-Riley, CLICK HERE.

“We just launched our functional longevity research EPD, so functional longevity is obviously important for a commercial cow-calf man. We want our cows to stay in the herd and have a calf every year,” Retallick-Riley said. “We know that, and that is really where we want to land. We have been able to accumulate a lot of phenotypes- actual records and management records from our producers over the years and try to come up with a genetic prediction for that specific trait.”

Coming up near mid-summer or early fall of 2024, Retallick-Riley said, is a teat and udder score EPD, which measures teat and udder suspension scores.

“We have never had a huge issue in the Angus breed with overall udder design and makeup, but we do see variation in those scores as our breeders are continuing to promote them,” Retallick-Riley said. “We want to be able to have those types of traits out there.”

For the past couple of decades, Retallick-Riley said the use of genomics in the beef cattle industry has grown substantially, as nearly 68 percent of registered Angus cattle have a genomic test on file.

“I think the thing that we have to continue to drive home is that even though genomics continues to get the limelight, we have to have the actual performance measurements,” Retallick-Riley said.

Genotypes in connection to the performance records (phenotypes), Retallick-Riley said, are the real key to success.

“The promise of genomics in the beginning was that we were going to find a gene for every single trait,” Retallick-Riley said. “We were going to know exactly which markers controlled which trait, and I think we have all been humbled a little bit in the genetics world and the genomics world. We know that these populations change over time. We have got to continue to send in the data.”

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