Checklist for Providing Inside Information at Production Sales

Seedstock producers can help give their production sale a boost this spring by adding inside information from a comprehensive DNA profile to their offering. They can help add value to their cattle and set their sale apart from the competition while providing customers with as much information as possible on sale cattle. And, this inside information can help buyers make more confident purchasing decisions on sale day, says Dr. Kevin DeHaan, technical services director, IGENITY®.

“DNA technology is another important tool in the seedstock-selection toolbox,” Dr. DeHaan says. “Seedstock producers owe it to their customers to provide all of the information available on their sale cattle to help them select the sires and replacement heifers that best fit their needs.”

He adds that incorporating the inside information from a DNA profile into a production sale can be as easy as following a few key steps.

1. Choose a DNA technology provider. IGENITY provides the most comprehensive DNA profile with analyses for 15 economically important traits, seven genetic abnormalities and more. The comprehensive DNA offering from IGENITY includes the only available DNA analyses for maternal and reproductive traits; the most complete list of carcass traits; breed-specific horned/polled and coat color analyses; and the only feed efficiency analyses for both Bos indicus and Bos taurus cattle.1

2. Order sample collection kits early. It is best to allow a week for sample collection kits to arrive. Producers should order kits with enough lead time to ensure they arrive before they plan to work cattle. IGENITY accepts tissue, hair, semen and blood samples. However, a diagnostic test for persistent infections (PI) of the bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus can only be performed on tissue samples. In addition, the analysis for Osteopetrosis is restricted to blood samples only. Producers should be sure to order the appropriate collection kit for the desired analyses.

3. Collect DNA samples during processing or on picture day. The best time to collect DNA samples is when producers are already working cattle. Bull soundness exams, heifer pregnancy checking or taking pictures for the sale catalog provide well-timed opportunities to collect samples and receive information in time to provide it to customers prior to sale day.

4. Allow enough time for results to be returned before sale materials are due to print. Producers should expect it will take 10 to 14 business days for results to be completed. Results for genetic abnormality testing may take up to four weeks to be returned.

5. Work with the team of advisers to sort and present results for sale promotion materials. The advisers from IGENITY can help producers understand the best way to sort and present the information to potential customers. Two online software applications currently are available from IGENITY. Producers can use these powerful tools to sort and manage the data as well as benchmark their herd against others in their breed or the entire database of cattle profiled with IGENITY.

6. Post sale information at The events calendar section of the IGENITY Web site provides producers with an opportunity to post information about their upcoming sale that features cattle profiled with IGENITY — providing additional exposure for their operation free of charge.

7. Provide DNA inside information to customers prior to sale day. It is important that potential customers have time to study the information and ask questions before the sale. This will give them an opportunity to digest it and help select the bulls and replacement heifers that best fit their operation.

8. Include an explanation of the inside information from the DNA profile in the sale catalog. Examples of result reporting and supplement sheets are available to help producers explain the powerful information from IGENITY in their sale catalog. These tools can help commercial producers understand how to use this inside information to help make more confident purchasing decisions.

Dr. DeHaan adds that the comprehensive IGENITY profile can help producers make more confident sire-purchasing decisions. However, to take full advantage of the power of DNA, producers should gain inside information about the young females in their herd as well.

“Seedstock producers can help their commercial customers understand the value of DNA technology and the importance of profiling young females as well as herd sires,” he says. “This will help them better understand which herd sires they need to purchase and help make better breeding decisions for faster genetic progress.”

DNA technology can provide seedstock producers an important competitive edge and their commercial customers more confidence in their purchasing decisions. However, Dr. DeHaan says, it takes some planning ahead.

“Just like all other aspects of a production sale, it is important to start early and plan ahead,” he says. “By gaining the inside information from a comprehensive DNA profile as early as possible, producers will have more time to present and organize the information to help their customers use it to their full advantage on sale day.”

For more information, producers should contact their IGENITY sales representative, call (877) 443-6489 or visit