Angus Breeders Share Genomic-profiling Strategies
By Kindra Gordon
“My goal was to make our cattle more valuable and return more money to the ranch,” shared Faulkton, S.D., Angus breeder Troy Hadrick as he explained why he invested in using the GeneMax® Advantage genomic test from Zoetis on his cattle more than four years ago. Hadrick was among a trio of Angus producers who shared their specific experiences with genomic testing during a Nov. 4 workshop at the 2017 Angus Convention in Fort Worth, Texas.
Jimmy Taylor, Cheyenne, Okla., and Lacy Cotter-Vardemann, Slayton, Texas, joined Hadrick in the discussion moderated by Kent Anderson with Zoetis and Kelli Retallick of the American Angus Association.
Cotter-Vardemann shared that she uses the technology to match cows to her challenging Texas environment, while also optimizing supply-chain productivity.
In Oklahoma, Taylor initially started using GeneMax in 2012 as a culling tool. In his initial test on heifers, 52% were below average in certain trait categories. Four years later, just 4% have below average deficiencies.
“I’ve made that much improvement and use GeneMax data to make better mating decisions,” he told the audience.
Today, Taylor said, “I won’t buy a bull that isn’t 50K tested, and I won’t use an AI bull without knowing the 50K raw data.” That said, he adds, “The bulls I use are more diverse today because with genomic testing I know I need different tools [traits].”
As a wrap-up to the producer discussion, Jim Collins, an Angus breeder from Cusseta, Ala., weighed in, telling the audience: “All of us here are seedstock producers one way or another —either through bulls or commercial females.” Collins sells heifers into 13 states and bulls in the Southeast. He reminded producers that they play a unique role in helping impact their own operation and that of their customers.
“Tools like GeneMax help identify animals that do better,” he said.
Collins, who was among the first breeders east of the Mississippi to use GeneMax Advantage, challenged producers: “Go back home and look at your operations and help your customers to use GeneMax on a portion of the herd.”
He concluded: “This is a tool that is a no-brainer. The ability to identify and eliminate cattle that will fall out of the herd a few years later is worth the cost of the test.”
Editor’s Note: This article was written under contract for or by staff of the Angus Journal as part of Angus Media’s coverage of the 2017 Angus Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 4-6. For permission to reprint, please contact editor Shauna Rose Hermel at 816-383-5270 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For complete coverage of the event, visit www.angus.org/Media/News/AngusConvention.aspx.