UNLOCKING the power within a beef herd through the use of genomic technologies will be the over-arching theme of a genetics field day being held near Culcairn NSW on 21 May.
Genomic technologies present an opportunity for all cattle breeders to accelerate the rate of genetic gain of their beef enterprises through enhanced decision making regarding the genetic potential of their animals.
Used well, genomic tools such as HD50K and HeiferSelect increase the ability of producers to meet their breeding objectives as well as the demands of consumers resulting in increases in production, profitability and satisfaction across the entire beef value chain.
Despite this potential, genomic tools and their applications are often poorly understood leading to limited perceived value and uptake.
The field day and workshop will be held at Brian and Lucinda Corrigan’s property Ellerslie Park, near Culcairn. The workshop is production focused, highly-practical and interactive with expert speakers covering topics on:
- Developing genomic technologies available for beef production systems
- Application and integration of genomic tools to enhance selection decisions
- Adoption of genomic tools in large-scale beef enterprises
- Protecting your genetics through the proper management and assessment of your bull battery
Keynote speaker will be Dr Kent Andersen, director of genetics technical services with Zoetis in the US. In his role with Zoetis, Dr Andersen primarily supports beef genomic testing and genetic evaluations, as well as related services. He and his family also operate a commercial cow-calf and farming operation in Nebraska.
His key themes will include:
- Where we are globally with the development of genomic testing in beef cattle
- How genomics has been applied in US beef breeds – the benefits and the learnings
- The dairy experience, what other tools are required to make sure inbreeding does not become an issue in global breeding programs,
- Adding value to global supply chains.
Also speaking during the day will be Lucinda & Ruth Corrigan from Rennylea Angus. The pair will outline:
- What Rennylea has learned since first adopting genomics in 2014
- The transition from pre-genomics, blending and single-step assessment
- Recent drops and the value of the genomic experience within the Rennylea herd
- Accuracy, increased standard deviation and variation – adding value to a grassfed supply chain.
Holbrook Vet Centre consultant veterinarian Dr Shane Thomson will speak on:
- Making the most of Genetic Improvement and Protecting Your Biggest Genetic Assets
- Understanding the economics and role of the bull as the major driver of herd genetic gain
- The principles for lifetime bull care and management
- Practical demonstration and material support for the ReproActive Bull Health technical manual.
Meat & Livestock Australia’s national adoption manager for genetics, Clara Bradford will speak on:
- What’s on the radar with genomics and genetic selection – an industry perspective
- Investment in genetic evaluation research
- Adoption – tools available and what’s on the horizon
- The future structure of reference populations
The day will also include practical sessions on bull assessment and evaluation, a demonstration of a Veterinary Bull Breeding Soundness Examination, and discussion about options and best practice collection of DNA samples for genomic testing.
The program will leave participants better equipped with the knowledge of genomic tools and application and the impact on EBVs and relevance to both seedstock and commercial enterprises.
- Cost is $30 a head, with a light lunch and BBQ at the conclusion of the workshop. Proceeds from the workshop will be donated to the Sisters of the North Flood Appeal.
- Click this link for more details and registration.
- For information or issues with registration contact Ruth Corrigan (0400 302 629) or Lachlan Ayoub, Zoetis (0437 226 122).