Cattle Research on Regional Performance

(Jena) From the fescue belt to the high desert to high altitudes, ranching has different challenges in each region. Through the years, cattlemen have found genetics that work in each of them. New research aims to uncover just what’s different. (Decker) Are there certain families and lines of cattle that are better suited to the Gulf Coast, the Fescue Belt, the Upper Plains high altitude, the Lower Plains, those type of things. Just trying to look at has there been a selection that has happened in those regions to make the cattle better adapted, and then we can actually see the footprints of that selection in the genomic data. (Jena) Decker and his team hope to find the genetic markers that make certain lines of cattle perform better in specific environments. That will help develop specialized EPDs by region. (Decker) One of the things that I’m really passionate about is, we now have the tools with the genomics, and we have the methods and the resources to really get this done. And so it’s really imperative that we do this for our commercial producers, so we can meet their needs and really help them to be more profitable. (Jena) But it’s about more than just today’s bottom line. (Decker) One of the things that we’ve started talking about in the beef industry is of course, sustainability. That’s making sure we make a profit, making sure we’re doing things in a socially acceptable manner, and then of course, trying to minimize our environmental footprint. When we identify cattle that are actually well-adapted to their environment, they do a better job in all of those things. (Jena) The new selection tools could allow for cattle that are more comfortable and productive in their regional environments. The three-year project is supported by the Angus Foundation. I’m Jena McRell.

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