The emergence of genomics testing gives cattle producers more information than they have ever had before. Making the data easy to use is another leap ahead.
That is why GeneSeek has introduced the Igenity® Production Index, which summarizes complex, detailed reports in a simple, easy-to-understand rating of the tested animal’s genetic merit.
“This is a balanced, multi-trait selection index,” explains Stewart Bauck, DVM, general manager of GeneSeek. “It uses the results of various genetic tests to come up with a single value for overall genetic merit. This gives producers a simple, easy-to-understand figure to rank their animals.”
A hard copy is provided with all Igenity test results and is designed to allow cattle producers to more conveniently evaluate replacement stock in their herd.
Early on, DNA testing was a natural fit to evaluate bulls. It is quickly becoming mainstream in seedstock production with the advent of Genomic-Enhanced Expected Progeny Differences (GE EPDs).
“The commercial producer who buys a genomically tested bull gets an animal with a higher-accuracy EPD and more confidence that the bull will perform and produce the kind of calves you want and expect,” Bauck adds.
By purchasing genomically tested bulls and then using DNA tests to help decide which heifers to retain, cow-calf operations can shorten the time it takes to improve their herd’s genetic merit.
“DNA testing is all about the value of time,” Bauck explains. “If you wait long enough, you can get a good indication of a sire’s genetic merit. But years may go by before you realize his performance is less than desired. By then, he has influenced four or more calf crops. Today innovative ranchers are extending the use of genetic testing into replacement heifer selection, too.”
Applying genetic test results are being integrated with herd goals and overall breeding and selection decisions.
“The test results can be significant. In some cases you may be interested in female fertility traits. In other instances, you are interested in carcass composition and growth. Where feed resources are scarce, mature body size, residual feed intake and feed efficiency are key considerations. So the results can be important, depending on your breeding program objectives. Are you selecting for replacement heifers to go back into the cow herd, where performance and longevity are important? Or are you looking to produce feeder calves?”
Using DNA testing in breeding and selection decisions is enhanced greatly by converting complex data sets into information producer can grasp immediately. The Igenity Production Index was designed to be a baseline tool to help in this.
“It is a simple, easy way to score your animals and use the ranking along with your visual evaluation, experience and other records to make selection decisions,” he says.
Producers can also use online tools to see how specific breeding goals can affect animal ranking. GeneSeek territory managers are pleased to show customers how to use these online tools to custom sort cattle according to particular goals, Bauck adds.
Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG) develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety. Neogen’s animal genomics businesses, GeneSeek and Igenity, provide value-added services to leading agricultural genetics providers, large national cattle associations, companion animal breed registries, university researchers, and numerous commercial cattle producers. For more information, visit www.neogen.com.