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beef improvement federation cattle genetics

Some Thoughts From An Oklahoma City Lobby

One of my favorite meetings each year is that of the Beef Improvement Federation [3] (BIF). It offers great information, good people and awesome hallway discussions.

I was sitting in the lobby of the hotel in Oklahoma City this week, scanning the BIF agenda ahead of the meeting. As usual, it promises to deliver some incredible information.

But I find it amazing that, while every session will discuss the latest research findings in that particular area of study, we’ll largely still be talking about the same old major themes. These are straight breeding [4] vs. crossbreeding [5], terminal vs. maternal selection, added output vs. increased inputs, and, of course, the Holy Grail – measuring production efficiency [6].

While scientists dominate the BIF meeting, along with a science-based perspective [7], I find it ironic that animal breeding still remains as much an art as a science. I’m sure that in 20 years, we’ll be infinitely better at breeding better cattle and using technologies we haven’t even envisioned today. I’m also willing to bet that we’ll still be discussing the pros and cons of straight breeding vs. crossbreeding [8], and what a particular bull really looks like. Some things will never change.

 

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