Improvement of Feed Efficiency, Carcass Traits, Fertility and Profitability in Commercial Beef Cattle

Acceleration of genetic improvement of Canadian seedstock though increased use of genomic technologies and development of multi-trait indexes that perform in commercial crossbred cattle

Genomic tools can help the beef industry address challenges in global competitiveness, production efficiency, and sustainability. This project bought together international leaders in beef genomics to leverage vast amounts of genomic data and deliver commercial value to producers. The first ‘made in Canada’ genomic tool was developed to assess hybrid vigour (degree of cross-breeding). High hybrid resulted in a net return of $160/cow/year and was associated with improved fertility, stayability, feed efficiency and health resilience. Additionally, two multi-trait indices are being developed for commercial crossbred cattle in Alberta. 1) Feeder Profit Index to improve growth, feed efficiency, carcass quality and profitability in feeder cattle and 2) Replacement Heifer Profit Index to improve hybrid vigour, feed efficiency, fertility and lifetime return for cows in the herd.

Download the full project summary here.

For more information on this project or genomic testing and indexes, please contact Livestock Gentec:

Phone: 780.248.1740

Institution: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Primary Investigator: John Basarab

Co-Primary Investigator: Donagh Berry (AGRIC), John Crowley (CBBC), Changxi Li (AAFC)

Term: 2015 - 2020

Funding: $849,251 from Genome Alberta

Development and Demonstration of a Genomic-Enhanced Whole Herd Genetic Management Platform to Improve Beef Production Efficiency and Quality

A platform to aid producers in herd genetic management will increase genomic tool adoption and improve beef production efficiency and quality

Constant improvement of beef production efficiency and quality is essential to enhance the competitiveness of the beef industry. A key strategy to improve beef production efficiency and quality is to manage the genetics of the whole cattle herd to achieve optimal beef production performance. This project aims to refine and demonstrate the Genomics Whole Herd Management Platform to the beef industry. The platform will allow beef producers to easily access information on the genomic profile of their herd including status or ranking of genetic merit for production traits and hybrid vigour. Based on the genomic profile, producers will be able to select breeding stock (sire and dam) that will optimize genetic gain and improve efficiency and profitability.

Download the full project summary here.

For more information or to participate in the project contact Michael Vinsky:

Institution: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Primary Investigator: Changxi Li

Co-Primary Investigator: John Basarab (UAlberta)

Term: 2021 - 2024

Funding: $318,900 from BCRC