Home to the industry's largest multi-breed beef cattle evaluation, International Genetic Solutions (IGS) has teamed with Neogen Genomics to develop more powerful selection tools for commercial ranchers who raise crossbred cattle.
"We're extremely proud of the collaboration we have with IGS. It really is the first of its kind in the world," says Stewart Bauck, vice president of Agrigenomics for Neogen Genomics. "We will, along with IGS, be developing and refining a set of tools that we can make available to commercial producers so they can select superior females in a multi-breed or crossbreeding operation."
Jackie Atkins, Ph.D., Director of Science and Education says, "The IGS database is the largest on the planet for multi-breed beef cattle, and not only do we have a lot of data, but we also have a lot of genotypes in that evaluation. Because of that critical mass, we can do a better job developing DNA markers and what those markers mean for a commercial test."
During the past decade, seedstock breeders have adopted genomics to strengthen genetic prediction tools and resulting selection decisions. The IGS-Neogen partnership accelerates the effort for commercial ranchers.
"Historically, all of these types of genetic profiles have been for a single breed. If we look at geneticists and the knowledge that we've gained from their research across the years, we know that crossbreeding leads to hybrid vigor, and so being able to have crossbred commercial cows should really be the goal for any commercial cattleman, because at the end of the day, they sell pounds," says Jamie Courter, Neogen Genomics Beef Product Manager.
"We'll be able to pull from all of the information that seedstock and commercial producers report back to IGS and fully support the Igenity® Beef Profile to make it stronger and better than it is today," she says. "So it'll be a two-way street. The sales reps at Neogen will be able to drive people toward reporting information and data back to IGS while Neogen is able to pull from that data and strengthen our own products."
In the end, more data on crossbred commercial cattle reduces risk.
"That puts a proactive management tool in the hands of the commercial producer," Bauck says. "For $30 and in three weeks, I can get the same information as I could by spending $2,000 in two years to develop a replacement heifer."
Kenny Stauffer, Neogen Genomics Director of Beef Genomic Sales, says, "If you're able to tag a calf, you're able to take a tissue sample. Put the capsule in the box and mail the box to us. You send your sample to us and in 21 to 28 days, you're going to have your results."
As producers make decisions on where to spend their time and money, DNA testing offers a valuable option in finding genetic answers.
"DNA testing is a valuable tool that can get to answers faster for commercial and for seedstock producers," Atkins says. "It will never replace data recording, that will always be important, but the fact that we can squeeze more out of any single DNA test in the future, that just gives commercial producers a more informed decision to make better, more profitable choices for them."
International Genetic Solutions (IGS) is an unprecedented collaboration between progressive organizations across the US, Canada, and Australia that are committed to enhancing beef industry profitability. The collaboration encompasses education, technological advancement, and genetic evaluation. Through collaboration, IGS has become the largest beef cattle evaluation in the world.
Learn more at InternationalGeneticSolutions.com, or visit genomics.neogen.com.