early days of the global coronavirus pandemic, many Americans faced an
unsettling reality: empty grocery store shelves.
set in almost overnight and left families spending all of their time at home,
limiting trips to the store and buying in bulk to prepare for the unknown.
While the pandemic sent shockwaves across all levels of the U.S. economy, it
also provided the chance to serve consumers in new and creative ways.
American Shorthorn Association (ASA) recently launched an initiative to promote
members who are offering beef products directly to consumers.
called Shorthorn Beef — Locally Raised.
the pandemic some consumers faced food shortages, and this brought to light the
importance of having a local source for beef,” says ASA President Nancy
Grathwohl-Heter. “A local program is appealing to consumers, because they know
where their meat is sourced and how it is raised.”
Shorthorn Beef program is an avenue for connecting the breed’s cattle producers
with those interested in buying locally raised beef. The effort includes
promotional opportunities through social media, the ASA website and other media
“It’s really about families supporting families,” says Montie Soules, ASA executive secretary and CEO. “When you purchase Shorthorn Beef, you’re supporting a family farm and their livelihood. We hope this program continues to open doors between the community and livestock producers.”
buying directly from a local farmer or rancher, Grathwohl-Heter says consumers
can purchase a quarter, half or whole Shorthorn beef and receive great-tasting,
healthy products at a reasonable price point. She and her family manage DTR
Cattle Company near Raymond, Kansas, and were early participants in Shorthorn
Beef — Locally Raised.
family has been raising Shorthorn cattle for four generations, and we strive to
produce a tender and delicious product that exceeds consumer expectations,”
Grathwohl-Heter says. “We enjoy having a conversation with consumers and
sharing our story as a family-owned Shorthorn cattle operation.”
gentle, quiet Shorthorn breed — ideal for family-focused farms and ranches —
has long been known for its superior-quality beef, ASA says. The breed also has
a unique ability to produce high levels of marbling combined with greater
levels of muscling than other breeds.
cattle have always been known for producing tender and highly marbled beef,”
Grathwohl-Heter says. “The Shorthorn Beef program highlights the breed’s great
end product, and helps breeders create more value and demand for Shorthorn
members will receive marketing support and be featured on the ASA website among
the growing directory of Shorthorn breeders with beef to sell. They will also
be able to brand their product using the program’s official logo.
this new effort, we hope to provide a niche market for fresh, high-quality
local Shorthorn Beef,” Soules says. “Our more than 6,000 adult and junior
members from across the country are committed to raising the best possible
Shorthorns and supporting the way of life they enjoy. We want to share that
message with consumers.”
addition, Soules sees the effort behind Shorthorn Beef — Locally Raised as an
extension of the breed’s American legacy. The Shorthorn was country’s first
beef breed and traces its U.S. history to the 1780s.
Next year, the organization celebrates its 150th anniversary — making ASA the nation’s oldest beef cattle association. Go online to access the list of Shorthorn Beef participating breeders or contact ASA for more information on how to get involved in the new program.
As most of
you know by now, the North American International Livestock Exposition is on!
It was announced on September 18th that they are planning to move
forward and have the show, which makes us all happy after hearing Denver had
postponed. With that being said, it is going to look a little different at
NAILE this year. Please find the information below for what we know will be
happening at NAILE. There is always possibility of change. As we get more
information, we will do our best to pass along information to our
must enter through Gate 1. It will be the only open gate!
inspections will be conducted at the time of arrival at the grounds. All
animals must have a valid health paper with official USDA 840 EID Tag.
cattle shall be reported Negative on an ELISA or BVD-PI test and can be listed
on the health paper.
will then be directed to the lot right there next to Gate 1 to receive your
packet that will include all your passes.
Badges will be provided to exhibitors. This will be by the amount you enter so
keep that in mind.
with 1-5 head will receive 3 passes.
with 6-10 head will receive 5 passes.
with 11-15 head will receive 7 passes.
with 16+ head will receive 8 passes.
Barn Badges will be like lanyards, where you can take them off and give to
another person. These will be to get into the barn. If you do not have one on
you will not be allowed in the barn, but you can be out at tie-outs or the
trailer. The facility is limited on the number of people allowed in the barns
at a time and this is how they plan to control that.
will not be able to enter the facility without completing the Covid-19 document
provided by NAILE.
will be required.
Pavilion (where Shorthorns are normally stalled), is partially being used for
Covid-19 things. With that being said, there is a possibility we will be
stalled somewhere different.
will be the same as last year and we will be following our Stalling Policy. Please
see that policy below.
will be pre-bedded. They will disinfect in-between each breed but will not be
able to re-bed, so be respectful when loading out and clean up trash. This will
allow them to rotate breeds quicker.
are lucky enough to be on the same schedule, meaning we will be one of the
first breeds in and out of the barns. We will show Junior cattle on Saturday
and Sunday, and Open cattle will show on Monday. We will start Monday with
ShorthornPlus Bulls followed by ShorthornPlus Females. Then continue with
Purebred Bulls followed by Purebred Females.
will be NO Spectators allowed in the show ring. Only people with barn badges
will be allowed.
will be restrictions on the number of people allowed in the make-area with each
animal. We do not know this number yet.
are considering opening up the Sale Arena for a certain number of spectators
during sales only, but this has not yet been confirmed. This does not mean that
those people will be allowed in the barn.
this is what we know as of now but there is possibility this could change. We
wanted to get this information out to our Shorthorn Breeders to try and stop
rumors and help you make decisions before entries close. Entries close on
October 1st with late entries being October 10th.
Policy; we will be
following the NAILE stalling policy.
NAILE uses our entries from the previous year to plan how much stalling
we receive for our breed. They will take a percentage away from our previous
year entries and then take a percentage away for no shows of current entries.
So, what does this mean for you?
We get less stalls assigned for Shorthorns
than what are entered. We advise that you enter more head then what you plan to
bring because we will cut down on your stall space from what you enter by the
same percentage that we are cut by NAILE. Please add space for tack to your
entries. (NAILE does not allow any tack space when assigning breed stalling
If you have any stalling request, we will take them, but
we cannot promise that you will get them as we will be stalling where you fit
best. Stalling request need to be in by November 1st to Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org,
in order for them to be taken into consideration. Also, please contact Emily if
you are coming or not coming to the show. Stall space will be made solely off
of number of head entered.
The Steer Profitability Competition (SPC) is designed to provide junior members meaningful exposure to the opportunities and challenges associated with cattle feeding. The SPC will not only allow participants to measure and compare the profitability of their own animal(s), but of greater importance, it will introduce young beef enthusiasts to peers, mentors, industry advocates, and experiences that are exceedingly difficult to acquire for any beef producer. Participants in the SPC program will be powerful voices as they transition from junior membership to adult participation within the beef industry.
By the International Genetic Solutions Science Team
A new definition of contemporary
groups based on the age of the dam.
Regardless of how users designate contemporary groups (CG), all calves born from first-calf dams will be placed into a separate CG from calves out of mature cows. Given the vast majority of producers actually man- age this age group separately, it is reasonable to define their calves as their own CG. Handling these as separate CG will reduce the environmental noise caused by differ- ent management strategies and biological constraints for this age group.
2. Milk modeling updates.
The magnitude, and even
direction, of the correlation between weaning weight direct and milk, has been
long debated in scientific circles. In fact, there is a wide range of estimates
that exist in the scientific literature. Given that, the science team developed
a model that assumes milk and weaning weight direct are independent (i.e., genetic correlation of 0). In addition, with some of the other proposed updates, it was discovered that the evalua- tion solved more effectively when genomics were removed for Milk EPDs. In light of this discovery, the IGS Milk EPD will not use genomic information for the time being.
3. Different variances for different sexes.
Males usually have a higher growth potential than females simply due to gender. As a consequence, the variation associated with their weights also tends to be greater. This difference in the amount of variation between the sexes are set to a male scale in the up-dated growth trait predictions.
4. New DNA Marker subset.
As the number of
genotyped animals has increased, so has our ability to estimate marker effects
and identify subsets that are more predictive. Relative to growth traits, a new
(and larger) subset of markers has been identified to add more accuracy to EPD.
for different birth weight collection methods.
When we began looking into growth trait data, we discovered that not all birth weights followed expected amounts of variation. Some of the examples of reduced variation included weights rounded to the nearest 5 pounds, reduced variation when hoof tapes were used, and likely-fabricated data with little to no variation. Some of these data are useful, but they are clearly on a different scale and need to be treated appropriately. Dr. Bruce Golden developed a way to use machine learning to recognize unique features of each class of birth weight observation and predict how it was obtained. By accounting for the various categories, the genetic evaluation is still able to use submitted records that fall out of biological expectations for most scenarios, while more accurately accounting for different practices of collecting the weights.
Results of Updates to Growth Model
With these proposed changes, a considerable amount of work went into testing if the new models improved growth trait predictions. One of the most common procedures for evaluating updates to EPD systems is to exclude a certain portion of the phenotypes available, run the evaluation, and compare the correlation of the EPD from two systems to the phenotypes that were removed from the evaluation (higher correlation is bet- ter). For these updates, this procedure was used where all animals born after 2018 were excluded from the evaluation system and then comparisons between the current growth trait EPDs and the updated EPDs were made to this phenotypic information. The results for each of the analyses are presented in the following table.
Pearson correlation between parental average EPDs and excluded phenotypes from animals in the IGS genetic evaluation that were born in 2018 or later.
The results in the table
above show the evaluation updates had higher correlations to phenotypes
than the previous growth trait models.
This equates to more precise EPDs for
Birth, Weaning, and
An additional trait that is evaluated with the growth analysis is the Milk EPD. A Milk EPD represents the genetic difference in calf weaning weight based on the maternal environment provided by the dam. Due to the nature of this trait being the maternal component of weaning weight, a different validation strategy must be used to evaluate the updated predictions. To evaluate the updated Milk predictions an expected weaning weight for the excluded animals was formed using the following equation:
This predicted weaning
weight was then correlated with the excluded weaning weight phenotypes. Again, the updated predictions of Milk had higher correlations compared to the previous
Milk EPDs (0.42 vs. 0.39, respectively). These results show that the updated
predictions more precisely predict the weaning
weight of an animal than the currently published
Breeders may notice
reranking of animals with the release of the growth trait updates. While the
change may be unsettling, the end results by every measure have shown an
improvement in the precision of the growth trait predictions.
we put out that we would be continuing the Regional Points with the shows that
were left in each region. Unfortunately, since then, almost all of the State
Fairs hosting regional shows have cancelled. The Show Committee had a meeting
at the junior nationals in Texas and made the recommendation to suspend the
regional points for this year because of all the cancellations. The ASA Board
of Directors followed the recommendation of the Show Committee and as a result
the Super Regional and Regional point system will be suspended for the
2020-2021 show season.
change, we are still going to move forward with National Show Points. As, a way
to give out more awards for this show season the ASA Board approved to add
division winners for our National Show Points. We will score these division
winners with the same points that allocate for the National Show Female and
Bull awards. It is also approved that there must be at least two National Shows
during the 2020-2021 show season in order for any national awards to be
presented. This does not mean that an animal must exhibit at two National
Shows, just that two Nationals Shows must take place. So far, one of the
National Shows have cancelled, Keystone International Livestock Exposition. If
any more cancel we will get these updates to the membership as best as we can.
During these unprecedented times because of Covid-19 we all have to anticipate
possible adjustments happening to everything we do. The resulting awards for
the National Shows will be presented at the 2021 Annual Meeting, which is the
kickoff of our 150th Anniversary Celebration.
the points that will be used for the National Shows.
MANHATTAN, Kan. (June 8, 2020) —The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) announced new directors and officers June 8 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium, hosted virtually this year.
Joe Mushrush, Strong City, Kansas, was introduced as the 2020-2021 BIF president during the Monday session. Matt Perrier, Eureka, Kansas, is the new vice president. New directors elected to serve on the BIF board were producers John Irvine, Manhattan, Kansas; Troy Marshall, Burlington, Colorado; and Joy Reznicek, West Point, Mississippi. New association representatives elected were Shane Bedwell, American Hereford Association; Kelli Retallick, American Angus Association; and Matt Woolfolk, American Shorthorn Association.
Bob Weaber, Kansas State University professor, was announced as the new BIF executive director. Weaber will be taking the reins from Jane Parish, Mississippi State University, who served as executive director from 2015-2020.
“Jane has been a great leader for the organization, and we are grateful for the years she dedicated to BIF,” says Tommy Clark, 2019-2020 BIF president. “Under her leadership, BIF has raised the bar in member services, as well as its communication and marketing efforts to members, the board and the organization’s partners.”
Also retiring from the staff after 18 years of service to BIF is Lois Schreiner. From 2002-2020, Schreiner served as executive assistant to several directors and has been integral in BIF’s success.
“Lois is phenomenal,” says Weaber. “She has been the heart and soul of BIF, and the behind-the-scenes contribution she has made to BIF for the past 18 years is immeasurable.”
More than 1,300 beef producers, academia and industry representatives registered to participate in the organization’s 52nd Annual Research Symposium — Online. BIF’s mission is to help improve the industry by promoting greater acceptance of beef cattle performance evaluation.