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Can genomics data be your ticket to better returns on value-added feeder cattle?

All it takes is a glance at the feeder cattle market report to see the advantage of producing and marketing value-added calves. While making the jump into the value-added world may mean a change in your approach to management and marketing, the rewards can make it well worthwhile.

Throw genomics into the mix and things can really begin to work in your favor. Now, beef producers participating in Verified Beef’s Reputation Feeder Cattle® (RFC) program can now use GeneMax® Advantage, PredicGEN and i50K genomic test results from Zoetis to help predict performance potential. These test results have been added to the RFC Genetic Merit Scorecard® to help verify genetic merit of feeder cattle enrolled in the program.  

“Our Genetic Merit Scorecard® helps producers document the genetic potential of their calves and gives cattle feeders an accurate prediction of how calves will perform,” says Duane Gangwish, chief operations officer at Verified Beef. “Adding in the genomic tests from Zoetis helps bridge the gap when historical records are not available on the long-term bull battery and provides a more accurate solution for predicting future performance.”

The RFC program is a marketing program for ranchers and cattle feeders that helps with feeder cattle value discovery by verifying genetic merit and management practices. The program offers three value-added services to participants:

  • Evaluation of calf-crop genetic performance for feed lot and carcass merit
  • Documentation of calf-crop management history with regard to health, nutrition and handling
  • Promotion of calves available for sale to hundreds of feedlots to attract more informed bidders.

For a given calf crop, dependable predictions of genetic potential for performance can be made by using the latest EPD/GE-EPD bull battery information from the past 10 years (option 1 below). Alternatively, if EPD/GE-EPD information is only available for the current active bull battery, it may be combined with GeneMax Advantage or PredicGEN results from tested replacement heifer candidates or cows to also inform the Genetic Merit Scorecard (option 2 below). In either option, calf crop genetic potential is best evaluated through higher accuracy, including complete sets of bull battery GE-EPDs powered by HD 50K or i50K—especially for difficult-to-measure traits such as feed efficiency and carcass merit.

“The Reputation Feeder Cattle program provides producers with an opportunity to acquire premium value for their animals,” says Dr. Paulo Moraes, Zoetis senior marketing manager, beef genomics and reproductives. “We are happy to partner with Verified Beef to provide component genetic information that makes validation of genetic information easier by cow-calf producers and cattle feeders.”

For more information on the Reputation Feeder Cattle program, please visit www.reputationfeedercattle.com. To learn more about the genomic testing offerings from Zoetis, please contact your Zoetis representative or visit www.genemaxadvantage.com or www.predicgen.com.

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