Limousin Adds 45,000 Harvest Data Phenotype Records

Beef carcasses
Beef carcasses

Carcass trait EPDs for Limousin and Lim-Flex® cattle are now among the most accurate and predictable in the industry, thanks to a cooperative effort between the North American Limousin Foundation (NALF), Aurora, CO, International Genetic Solutions (IGS), Bozeman, MT and Feedlot Health Management Services, Ltd., Okotoks, Alberta, Canada.
The leap forward comes with the inclusion of more than 45,000 actual harvest data phenotype records from pedigreed Limousin and Lim-Flex influenced cattle into the IGS national cattle evaluation.
“An ongoing challenge in estimating carcass EPDs is the lack of carcass phenotypes,” says Randie Culbertson Ph.D., IGS lead geneticist. “Considering carcass phenotypes measure the attributes of the actual end-product we are focused on producing in the beef industry, improving accuracy of our carcass EPD’s is imperative to making genetic improvement in these traits.   However, the collection of carcass data to be used in genetic evaluations remains an ongoing challenge. The implementation of more than 45,000 carcass records into the IGS genetic evaluation represents a 52% increase in actual carcass phenotypes in our entire IGS database and will have a significant impact on the accuracy of our genetic prediction for carcass traits.”
“Incorporating this amount of actual carcass data, directly into the National Cattle Evaluation at IGS, is unparalleled,” says Mark Anderson, NALF Executive Director. “What’s even more exciting is the large volume of data we plan to add on a quarterly basis. The carcass phenotypes generated will greatly enhance accuracy, not only on the EPD’s of sires in the NALF herdbook, but also on related cattle throughout their pedigreed bloodlines. This will also greatly enhance carcass progeny equivalents when genomically enhancing cattle and will result in improved predictability in the mating decisions our breeders make, especially as it relates to highly heritable carcass traits.” 
Wulf Cattle, Morris, MN made inclusion of the unprecedented number of carcass phenotypes possible. Wulf Cattle is one of NALF’s largest producers of Limousin and Lim-Flex cattle.  Besides producing seedstock, the operation also feeds cattle in commercial yards throughout the central United States.
Wulf Cattle has long made a significant commitment to capture carcass records from fed beef cattle purchased from commercial cow/calf operators using their Limousin and Lim-Flex bulls. This same commitment applies to collecting carcass records from the firm’s BeefBuilder™ cattle1.
Other NALF members engaged in cattle feeding are also providing carcass phenotype records for the enhanced genetic evaluation.
“With the initial data set and the expected large monthly flow of new records from the BeefBuilder™ program, Limousin and Lim-Flex cattle are among the best characterized carcass genetics on the planet,” says Robert Weaber, Ph.D. of Kansas State University, a noted industry geneticist. He worked with the IGS science team to usher in this new era of carcass evaluation for NALF and Limousin breeders.
Weaber explains each Wulf Cattle bull in the genetic evaluation represents at least several hundred progeny carcass records, with some having 1,000 or more.
“The new carcass evaluation provides Limousin and Lim-Flex breeders the information necessary to make more precise and predictable breeding and selection decisions than ever before as they continue their quest to increase profitability throughout the beef value chain,” Weaber says.
“Enhanced data-sets like the one we’re creating, enable our breeders to not only create better cattle at an accelerated rate, but provide more consistency and predictability to commercial cow/calf operators and the entire beef value chain,” says Curt Wieczorek, NALF President, a second-generation Limousin breeder from Mount Vernon, SD. “This effort is a win for the beef industry and will certainly help solidify our breed’s long-standing position as the Carcass Breed,” Wieczorek says.
“The current marketplace demands cattle that can hit consumer-driven targets in terms of quality grade while achieving a higher percentage of Yield Grade 1-3 carcasses that deliver improved red meat yield,” Anderson says. “As importantly, current market signals are asking us to do that while simultaneously taking cattle to larger out-weights without sacrificing feed efficiency.” 
1BeefBuilder™ cattle from Wulf Cattle are the result of crossbreeding proven Limousin and Lim-Flex® bulls with Holstein and Jersey cows. BeefBuilders are high quality grading, consistent, beef-type cattle with improved feeding performance and superior red meat yield, compared to strait-bred dairy cattle.


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