The American Angus Association Board of Directors recently voted to authorize the formation of a new company. Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI) will conduct business as the Beef Improvement Company and will focus on the genetic evaluation of cattle traits.
In addition, it will conduct research and implement new technology, including DNA, for use throughout the beef industry. The new company evolved as a result of ongoing input from registered seedstock suppliers and the beef industry stressing the need for more accurate evaluation tools for all Angus genetics used in the commercial beef sector.
The genetic evaluation of beef cattle in the U.S. gained momentum in the mid-1970s and was initially undertaken by individual breed associations. Each association was responsible for performance data collection and the reporting of the data. The complexity of data analysis led associations to seek support from land-grant universities.
By the 1980s, land-grant universities were responsible for performing the genetic evaluation of most registered seedstock in the U.S. A more recent shift in university resources and philosophy make it necessary for beef industry entities to assume responsibility for genetic analysis, while the land-grant university systems will focus more toward research.
While the American Angus Association is the world’s largest beef cattle registry, Angus influence in other U.S. beef breed registries is reported to be as high as 50% of total registrations where percentage, hybrid or composite cattle can be recorded. A genetic evaluation process using the largest, most influential genetic database ultimately provides the beef industry with more reliable genetic information.
The American Angus Association is responding to the beef industry by accepting a leadership role regarding the advancement of science and technology. Beef Improvement Company will continue developing technology, using sound science and best practices, for use by Angus breeders, commercial beef producers and the beef industry.
The American Angus Association, with headquarters in Saint Joseph, Mo., provides programs and services to more than 34,000 members and thousands of commercial cattle producers.
Also making Angus news, the American Angus Association has released its first research heifer pregnancy genetic evaluation. This project is part of a comprehensive effort to characterize economically important traits in Angus cattle and to develop selection tools to benefit commercial producers and seedstock breeders.
The initial research includes sire heifer pregnancy expected progeny differences (HP EPDs). These EPDs are designed to identify genetic differences among sires for daughter pregnancy.
“Even though reproductive traits are recognized as being lowly heritable, this research allows us to provide a genetic value to commercial producers in an area of high economic importance,” says Sally Northcutt, Association genetic research director.The Fall 2007 heifer pregnancy research report contains HP EPDs and accuracies for 429 sires. The release of HP EPDs is in the form of a web-based research report found at http://www.angussiresearch.com  containing sire EPDs with a minimum 0.30 accuracy. Printed copies are available on request. If you have questions, contact the Performance Programs Department at 816-383-5100.