Ways to Make Genetic Improvement This Fall

October 3, 2010 06:01 PM

Source: Pfizer Animal Genetics

A few simple adjustments this fall can help cattle producers jump-start genetic progress — and profitability — for years to come. Mark Allan, Ph.D., associate director, technical services, Pfizer Animal Genetics, says producers can use DNA testing to help take some of the risk out of the important decisions they will make in the coming months. 

“Purchasing herd sires or selecting replacement heifers are activities that include a significant number of variables, all of which can ultimately affect the success of each decision,” Dr. Allan says. “Yet, these are decisions often made quickly, but can affect an operation’s profitability for years.” 

Wayne Morrison, 7X Ranches near Lingle, Wyo., agrees that managing a successful operation comes down to having the right information. Trying to stand out in a competitive marketplace — and provide his customers with additional information about his cattle — Morrison started testing bulls and replacement heifers with the High-Density (HD) 50,000 (50K) panel for Angus cattle from Pfizer Animal Genetics. 

“With HD 50K, whether you like it or not, it’s going to tell you where you should go,” Morrison says. “Just like a map, it gives you a snapshot of where you’re at and will give you a better idea of where you need to go to accomplish your goals.” 

Dr. Allan says, like Morrison, producers of all types can use DNA testing to help minimize the risk associated with everyday decisions by gaining additional information about some of the key success factors for each. He suggests producers consider the following three options to get started: 

  1. Identify superior young herd sire prospects.
  2. Better manage replacement heifer prospects.
  3. More precisely evaluate herd bull battery.

Morrison says DNA testing his bulls and replacement heifers has already paid dividends for him and will benefit his customers, too.

“The cost is so nominal for the information you get. I can get information on my replacement heifers and the bulls I’m going to send to testing stations — even the bulls that I want to use next year,” he explains. “With this information, my commercial bull customers can deliver exactly what the feedlot producers want — I think it will trickle down through all segments of the industry.”

Dr. Allan agrees that the success of young herd sires and replacement heifers can have significant short- and long-term effects on an operation’s profitability.

“The ability to better evaluate these animals at a young age gives producers a powerful tool when it comes to taking some of the risk out of decisions about these key animals in a herd,” he says. “Producers can start this fall by testing cattle already in their herd to make better management decisions as well as requesting that their seedstock provider supply information from Pfizer Animal Genetics on sale cattle for more precise purchasing decisions.”

For more information, producers can talk with their Pfizer Animal Genetics representative, visit www.pfizeranimalgenetics.com or call 877-BEEF-DNA.


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