Given the prohibitive cost and large data sets required to identify the relationships between genetics, an animal’s environment and its management, the benefits of genomics in the cattle industry have often been limited to the pure breed and seedstock sectors. Recent improvements in the ability of producers to gather large quantities of data combined with massive reductions in the price of DNA analysis and the resulting shift in costs vs. benefits has opened the genetics door to the commercial beef producer, particularly the cow/calf sector. In accordance with this shift, commercial cow/calf producers are showing an increased interest in how genomics might help them better turn their forage into beef. And who better to turn to than their own forage and research associations.
Gentec’s work with Alberta’s forage associations has reached the point that we are pleased to announce a reciprocating, collaborative MOU with the Grey Wooded Forage Association headquartered in Rocky Mountain House. The agreement centres on research, education and demonstration of technologies to optimize the profitability and sustainability of turning sunshine into forage, and forage into beef. We are confident it will provide significant benefits to the stakeholders of both organizations. Watch for updates in this newsletter and in the GWFA’s The Blade.
Opening up the time capsule, GWFA was Gentec’s first forage association collaborator on our field days. It’s hard to believe that GWFA member Murray Abel opened the Cow-Forage Gentec Tour in as far back as 2017. See the article here. This was Gentec’s first pivot towards focusing on the forage aspect of beef production as part of a field-demonstration event, our first direct collaboration with a forage association—and one of our most highly-rated programs. Coincidentally, this was also the event at which Gentec launched the first genomic breed composition tool, EnVigour HX, which was also the first of several genomics tools Gentec developed to help Alberta’s commercial cow calf producers make better beef.
Our two organizations continue to work together to update GWFA members on opportunities to apply genomics and best forage and beef production practices, including opportunities to participate and benefit from practical on-ranch validation and research opportunities.