Artificial insemination (AI) sire selection decisions made this spring will greatly affect the future genetic makeup and profitability of a herd for years. This is why producers should take advantage of all existing tools.
“Producers now have more information than ever before with the introduction of the first and only commercially available High-Density (HD) 50,000 (50K) panel, for black Angus cattle,” says Kent Andersen, Ph.D., associate director, Pfizer Animal Genetics. “With powerful information about 13 traits, and the first-ever genomic-based economic index, known as $MVPFL, producers can fill in a few gaps associated with uncertainty that comes with AI sire selection.”
He says this begins with measuring traits not yet available as expected progeny differences (EPDs).
“The ability to evaluate dry matter intake and net feed intake, using predictions from this high-density DNA panel, gives producers valuable insight into these economically important traits that affect their most significant cost and hence profitability on a daily basis,” he says.
To make this feed intake information more useful in the context of simultaneous selection for other important traits, Pfizer Animal Genetics has developed the first genomic-based economic index. The $MVPFL index blends information related to feed intake, growth and carcass traits, including weight, yield and quality grade. This information is presented in units of dollars helping producers to identify impactful sires for net genetic merit for these input and output traits when fed cattle are priced on a Certified Angus Beef-like grid, Dr. Andersen says.
Additionally, HD 50K MVP™s (molecular value predictions) complement EPDs for young, unproven sires, and help mitigate risk associated with selection decisions.
“With both HD 50K MVPs and EPDs in hand, producers can more reliably evaluate young sires as they would once they have performance data from multiple progeny contributing to their EPDs,” Dr. Andersen says. “DNA-marker technology adds another level of information and accuracy on young animals, which is especially valuable for unproven sires, helping reduce risk of selection and increasing the ability to make smarter mating decisions.”
It follows that Dr. Andersen advises that seedstock producers should also consider testing females.
“Depending upon the trait, HD 50K MVPs add reliability that is roughly equivalent to performance records collected and submitted for the lifetime of a cow’s natural calves. Having HD 50K MVP information available for replacements and young cows empowers a lifetime of more profitable mating decisions.”
To begin making more precise selection and mating decisions this spring, producers can start by visiting www.pfizeranimalgenetics.com to find HD 50K MVPs for some of the industry’s top Angus AI sires. For more information, producers also can contact their Pfizer Animal Genetics representative or call 877-BEEF DNA (877-233-3362).