In the past selection of commercial cattle has often been a case of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.
It’s not enough these days to rely on looks alone. Genomic testing of an animal makes it possible to make an informed decision about an animals’ production potential based on science.
What is genomics?
Genomics is the measurement of the sequence of genes (the genome) in a living organism.
Measuring what genes are present in the animal, which are expressed, or “switched on” enables us to determine a lot about an animal early in life or without measuring its behaviour and performance over a long time.
Many years of research has identified certain genes and their relationship to different characteristics that we observe in an animal.
These traits are grouped into:
- physical (hair colour or Horn/Polled)
- genetic defects (Alpha-Mannosidosis (AM) or Protoporphyria)
- production traits (birth weight, growth rate, carcass fatness).
What are the benefits of genomic testing?
Using genetic information in breeding is referred to as genomic selection and results in a production sytem where healthy animals can produce more, with less input.
Genomic testing in the cattle industry has long been used by stud breeders to increase the accuracy of selection, enabling them to accelerate genetic progress across a number of breeds, traits and characteristics.
We can now use this technology to measure genetic merit in commercial cattle herds. Elders offers solutions for both purebred and crossbred commercial cattle.
The Elders Genomics Service enables you to measure the genetic potential of a group of commercial crossbred cattle, with the results enabling you to rank them on genetic merit for 16 different production traits.
Using the service to select replacement breeding females in your commercial herd, you can:
- select elite individuals early in life, allowing selection decisions at a younger age or allowing targeted retention of animals when a reduction in herd size is required, such as during drought.
- characterise the performance traits that require improvement in your herd, and then target bull purchasing decisions.
- selectively breed certain individuals to certain sires based on their genetic merit.
- increase overall rates of genetic gain.
Our service can also help rank steers for growth, feed efficiency and carcass traits prior to sale.
Learn more about our genomics offering
Speak to our Genomics team for more information.