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Genomics data adds value to premium Angus marketing program

In just a few short years, genomic testing has proven itself as an important new management tool for forward-thinking commercial cattle producers. Now, those cattle producers can put some money where their data is.

 Cattle earning high Igenity scores for average daily gain, feed efficiency and marbling will now be considered for Top Dollar Angus qualification and premiums.

 According to a joint announcement from Top Dollar Angus and Neogen GeneSeek, Igenity commercial cattle DNA profiles will be added to the qualifying grid in the value-added program. Top Dollar Angus has placed thousands of cattle into feedyards that pay premiums for cattle verified to have superior genetics.

 “Igenity profiles are highly accurate, affordable DNA tests for commercial cattle,” says Tom Brink, founder of Top Dollar Angus. “Combined with sire records, Igenity scores for replacement heifers will be used to consider whether steer mates qualify for marketing programs with our feedyard clients.”

 Producers can now add value to their feeder steers and get more bang for their buck on DNA profiling their heifer mates, says Ryan Ruppert, U.S. sales director for Neogen’s beef genomics unit.

Producers mainly use commercial DNA tests to select replacement heifers, Ruppert explains.

 “They use Igenity to improve fertility traits that drive production, because that is their No. 1 profit maker. They are balancing maternal-trait selection with performance and carcass trait improvements in their cows’ progeny,” he says. “Now they can earn premiums for the steer mates of those heifers while they are building a more productive, profitable cow herd that fits their marketing goals and grazing environment.”

 Economic analysis shows that improved fertility through genetic testing can add $250 net profit over the productive life of a cow, merely by using $25 dollar test to sort out heifers that have better fertility. On top of that, getting a $50 quality premium for that cow’s calves would add even more profit over the cow’s productive life, Ruppert says.

 Brink says quality-focused feeders bid for feeder cattle that gain efficiently and earn grid premiums. Increasingly, he says, quality premiums for fed cattle are shared with calf producers through mechanisms like Top Dollar Angus. Superior cattle bring higher prices in the supply chain. Those added values become more important as the choice-select spread widens, and premiums are paid for Certified Angus Beef.

 For the cow-calf producer, selection of cows for fertility and breed back will continue to enhance revenue by having higher fertility rates. Putting simultaneous selection pressure on positive growth and carcass traits can also earn rewards with programs like Top Dollar Angus, which identifies groups of cattle with excellent profiles for feed to gain and carcass quality.

 With new genomic tools for commercial cattle, producers can pinpoint specific maternal traits for improvement without sacrificing growth or terminal traits, Brink says. With confident selection and mating decisions with DNA testing, plus common-sense experience, producers can raise cattle that perform well across the supply chain.

 “At Top Dollar Angus, we supply those who finish quality beef with cattle from those who will supply them with quality calves that get the job done,” Brink says.


Material on BEEF Briefing Room comes directly from company news releases. Source: Neogen GeneSeek