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Genetics Help Cattle Producers Earn Premium Prices

15 October 2010


US - Too many cattle producers don't take advantage of proven breeding techniques to raise premium-quality beef, said a University of Missouri (MU) Extension beef reproduction specialist.

"There's so much technology and information out there that's just waiting to be used," said David Patterson at an Oct. 8 field day at MU Hugo Wurdack Farm in the Ozarks. "To keep US cattle producers in business over the long term we have to start paying attention to this."

Mr Patterson talked on how MU research on timed breeding and improved genetics has paid off with cattle that bring in premium prices. In June, a pen of 38 calves from MU Thompson Farm in Grundy County was the top performer in the AngusSource Carcass Challenge for commercial feedlots in the central US during the second quarter of 2010.

When sold, the beef cattle graded 100 per cent USDA Choice and 86.8 per cent USDA Prime and Certified Angus Beef.

The key to success is the use of estrus synchronization and timed artificial insemination. Under TAI, cows in a herd are bred by appointment on the same day. This eliminates the chore of heat detection and provides a more uniform calf crop. More importantly, it allows the use of proven high-accuracy bulls with superior genetics for such traits as calving ease, birth weight and carcass quality.

Mr Patterson said that when choosing sires, many Missouri producers-particular those not using artificial insemination-will simply select a promising-looking bull belonging to a neighbor.

"They're missing the boat. These accuracies really work," he said.

Mr Patterson spoke standing next to a portable breeding barn. MU Extension has eight of these barns available to producers for $50 per day. For TAI, portable breeding barns provide a low-stress environment for the cows plus convenience and comfort for workers. Contact your local MU Extension office for more information.


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