Have you ever been pulling out of your driveway, headed to church or to dinner, only to notice just before you leave that your cows are out? Well, our cows have gotten out again on our way to finalizing the single-step genetic evaluation using the new BOLT software. When the IGS team noticed an issue with the data submission systems in another breed, it had an effect on all of us that are members of the group. Now they are working on fixing the issues, and would like to do some test runs before releasing the information live to the breeders .Ideally, they would like to have four weekly test runs without errors in able to go live. Doing so will give IGS better opportunities to find and fix issues before releasing the improved run. It’s more important to the IGS team to get it done correctly than to just get it done. Their diligence to bringing us the best genetic evaluation in the industry should certainly be commended, even if we have to be patient a while longer.
With new technology comes a learning curve, and if you are a student like me, repetition is necessary to grasp the major concepts. Since there are some new changes with the transition to the single-step multi-breed genetic evaluation, we will discuss some of those a little further to drive home the significance.
With the move to the new single-step genetic evaluation, it has been noted the accuracy values you will see in the registry will be lower than values from the previous EPD runs. That certainly sounds confusing, but there is a method to the madness. When EPD calculations first began, there simply wasn’t enough computer power available to do the tabulations necessary to come up with the true accuracy of an EPD. Instead, the scientists of the day used a technique called the approximation method to come up with as good of a prediction of accuracy as the technology of the day could compute. Geneticists realized that while these approximations of accuracy were they best they could do at the time, they were probably a bit overinflated compared to the “true” accuracy of an EPD. Thanks to technology advancements, we are now able to process the tabulations that produce the truer accuracy value that wasn’t possible before. It will take some time to wrap our heads around bulls that were once listed at a 0.90 accuracy might now be closer to a 0.65, but remember that the newer, lower number is a better representation of the accuracy value. It’s like your neighbor’s fishing stories: If he told you he caught a 15 pounder (old method of accuracy calculation), in reality he probably caught a 10 or 12 pound fish (new single-step accuracy method)!
A neat feature of the new single-step genetic evaluation is how genomic data is handled during the calculations. We have already covered how the new system eliminates a step in the current process of calculating genomically-enhanced EPDs. What’s interesting is that with the new system, not only does genomic data affect the animal that has been genomically tested, but also related animals. If you have genomically tested your herd bull, then the information gathered from his genotype has an effect on his offspring’s EPDs, as well as half and full siblings and other closely related animals. That does not mean that just having DNA on your herd bulls is a good substitution for genotyping your replacement females or sale bulls. Obviously, having information on an animal’s own genomic profile will be more valuable than just having the sire DNA tested. After all, Dad’s genetics are only half the story! Testing the offspring gives you the full genomic story.
The 2018 Shorthorn Herdsman of the Year was awarded to Ron Rutan of RC Show Cattle in Eaton, Ohio. His long history of being involved in the Shorthorn breed began with his parents and grandparents raising Shorthorns. Rutan started RC Show Cattle with Christy Campbell in 1991 and from there he stayed actively involved with Shorthorns.
Rutan has taken cattle all over the country to many national shows over the years and in the last ten years he has displayed quite a few Shorthorn bulls in the yards at the National Western Stock Show.
“We bred the bull Damn Proud and when that bull came along Ron became even more enthusiastic about Shorthorns,” Campbell said.
Rutan has served as a director of the Ohio Shorthorn Association. RC Show Cattle also has an Annual Early Bird Sale on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend to auction their cattle.
Outside of being involved with Shorthorns, Rutan has owned and operated a fence construction business for the last 33 years as well as custom hoof trimming. Many people come from all over Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky to have Rutan trim hooves of their show cattle. Rutan also was Texas for a little bit in the 1970s and had a custom fitting service.
“We always are particular in picking a good string for Louisville,” Campbell said. “RC Show Cattle usually has 13 or 14 head there and people respect that. There are also not many people from Ohio that take cattle to Denver. Ron and Clair Bye took three head and came home with five banners. I would say that is pretty great. People also respect Ron’s quietness and that he isn’t arrogant.”
Rutan said the Shorthorn heritage goes way back in his genes and they were one of the first breeds he worked with growing up. Shorthorns have remained in his life but he enjoys working with all breeds of cattle.
“It was quite the honor to be selected as herdsman,” Rutan said. “It was a total surprise to be chosen. I never would have expected it. It is pretty gratifying to be recognized. I just work hard and do what I love.”
The Shorthorn Herdsman award is in honor of Lawrence Grathwohl, presented by the Grathwohl family and sponsored by the Shorthorn Foundation. Congratulations to Ron Rutan on being selected as the 2018 Shorthorn Herdsman of the Year.
American Shorthorn Association staff attended the annual Beef Improvement Federation Convention last week in Manhattan, Kansas. Convention participants attended general sessions with industry professionals who spoke about the beef industry.
The Young Producer Symposium was the first afternoon before BIF started. This event was designed to create a network for young cattleman and to help them gain knowledge as they work towards growing their role in the industry.
The first official morning general session was titled “Opportunities for the Beef Value Chain: Can we become more coordinated and more profitable?” Speakers for the day included Glynn Tonsor and Ted Schroeder with Kansas State University, John Stika with a branded beef program, Brad Morgan with Performance Food Group, and Keith Belk with Kansas State University.
The second morning general session was titled “Protecting producer profit for the future.” The speakers for the day included David Lalman of Oklahoma State University, Chip Ramsay of Rex Ranch, Mark Enns of Colorado State University, and Clay Mathis of King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management.
“This annual BIF event is a great way to network with people who are involved in the industry,” said Montie D. Soules, Executive Secretary/CEO of ASA. “The speakers are great, but some of the best opportunities come from meeting people outside in the hall. There are so many chances to make lifetime connections.”
The afternoons were filled with breakout sessions that focused on topics from beef-production to genetic-improvement. Convention participants chose the session that was most pertinent to their needs.
Participants attended dinners at the KSU Weber Arena and Stanley Stout Livestock Marketing Center, which gave more ways for networking with people who are involved with all aspects of the cattle industry.
“This is one of the best conferences I go to,” said Toby Jordan of Waukaru Farms Inc. “There is always information about the latest and greatest when it comes to breeding. I also really enjoyed speaking at the Young Producer Symposium that was focused towards younger cattle producers that are trying to grow in the business.”
ASA staff also participated in the International Genetic Solutions seminar that was before BIF. IGS is a collaboration of 12 breed associations that are working to put the progressive commercial cattleman first by creating genetic evaluation. Soules was among the panel of association leaders that spoke about the importance of genetic improvement.
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (June 10, 2016) – Anna Grace Parnell is a sophomore at Northeastern Oklahoma College where she is on the livestock judging team. Originally from Stanton, Alabama, she has shown Shorthorns since she was nine years old.
As a pre-vet major, Parnell plans on attending veterinarian school after NEO. She is unsure where she will go to vet school yet, but hopes it will be Oklahoma State University. She has plans to become an embryologist. Parnell said even if she does not go to vet school she plans on staying heavily involved in agriculture.
In March, at the Southeastern Livestock Exposition, Parnell won champion Shorthorn and supreme champion heifer. This was her second year to win champion Shorthorn and supreme champion heifer at this show because she previously won in 2014.
Parnell won senior showmanship at the 2015 Alabama Junior Cattleman’s Roundup and received a scholarship from the Alabama Cattlewomen’s Association. This scholarship was a contest for just high school senior and college freshman girls. Parnell tried three times before she won this prestigious scholarship.
She has attended many National Junior Shorthorn Show and Youth Conference’s with her brother James Robert Parnell and her family has been active in the ASA for more than seven years.
American Shorthorn Association, 7607 NW Prairie View Road, Kansas City, MO 64151
Phone 816.599.7777; fax number 816.599.7782
The mission of the ASA is to provide quality service and support to its members by promoting the value of Shorthorn cattle in all aspects of the beef industry, while maintaining the integrity of the herd book and performance database. The ASA is headquartered in Omaha, Neb., and was founded in 1872 with herd book records going back to 1822. As one of the oldest American breed associations, the ASA provides services for more than 6,000 junior and senior members who register nearly 14,000 cattle annually. The American Junior Shorthorn Association promotes personal development through youth activities and educational events. The AJSA is dedicated to the betterment of its members, promotes valuable skills, and fosters friendships that will last a lifetime. To learn more, contact the ASA office or visit www.shorthorn.org or www.juniorshorthorn.com.
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The 2016 KEY Conference is coming up July 29 – July 31 and will take place in California. The registration deadline is July 15th.
Click here for the registration application and more details.
Abbey and Taylor again. We are officially in the month of June and less than a month out from Junior Nationals. So excited to be there and get to meet all of you. Entering entries to the computer and contacting members for exhibitor packet information makes us feel like we almost know you a bit. (Does that sound creepy, it might be.)
Today instead of giving you an update on our lives as interns (because really the only update is that we are working hard to have everything ready for Junior Nationals), we are going to share our favorite beef recipes. We were inspired to write this post after finding some AJSA aprons in a very cold storage room that Abbey dubbed as the ‘meat locker’.
Abbey’s recipe – There is this amazing little taco truck a couple towns over from where I went to high school in Colorado called Lucy’s Tacos. After trying many different items on their menu with at least 50 different options, I discovered their Carne Asada Fries. When I moved 10 hours away to Oklahoma for college I had to find a way to keep these fries in my life, so I developed my own recipe.
Prep time- 45 min. to an hour. (Most of this is down time letting the fries soak)
Cook Time-45 min. to an hour.
Total time- 1.5 to 2 hours.
Serving size – 4 people
Ingredients – Fries
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 2-3 tablespoon olive oil, or preferred cooking oil
- Salt and pepper to taste (most days I like to add in a little garlic salt)
Ingredients – Toppings
- Half pound to a pound of steak – depends on how much meat you want. I prefer a nice marble tri-tip steak for some extra flavor, but you can also use skirt steak of steak you want.
- Weber Steak and Chop seasoning to taste
- Shredded cheese – I like a three cheese Mexican blend, but from here on out the ingredients are all personal preference
- Sour Cream
- Avocado or guacamole
- Shredded lettuce
- Cut the potatoes into sticks, about a quarter inch to half inch thick depending on how you like your fries. Then place the fries into a bowl of ice water and soak for 30 min. to an hour. This will help the fries to be nice and crunchy.
- Preheat oven to 425F
- After the fries have soaked, rinse and dry them thoroughly. Use 1 tablespoon of the oil to coat a baking sheet then toss the fries in the rest and season to taste. Spread the fries even over the baking sheet and cook at 425F for 45 min to an hour until nice and golden. Turn the fries about halfway through.
- After the fries are in the oven cut the steak into half inch cubes and coat the cubes in the Weber’s seasoning and let sit at room temperature until ready to cook.
- When the fries have about 15 min. left cook the meat in a skillet on medium0high heat. I like to use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or a griddle for a nice sear but any skillet will work. If needed add a little bit of olive oil to keep the meat from sticking and burning.
- When the fries are nice and golden turn the oven off and remove them. I like to layer on some cheese and place the fries back in the still warm oven to melt the cheese.
- Plate the fries and add toping as desired.
Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of my Carne Asada fries, but I have provided one I found from www.carlsbadcraving.com that is similar to what I based my recipe off.
As we all know, nothing beats Grandma’s cooking and I am pretty much certain my granny is the best cook of all! Growing up just a hop, skip, and a jump away from her house, I spent many days learning all the tricks to making the perfect dish. Moving 1,300 miles provided me with the chance to practice all that she taught me. Although, I will never be the cook she is, I think I have done a good job of perfecting a few recipes. One of my all-time favorites to make is stuff bell peppers. Especially if they are fresh peppers straight out of Papa’s garden! With little preparation time, this is the perfect meal to toss in the oven on a busy night.
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 30-45 minutes
Total time: 45-65 minutes
Serving size: 6-8 peppers
- 6-8 bell peppers
- 1 box New Orleans dirty rice
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 can of tomato sauce (8 oz.)
- Shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brown the ground beef in a large frying pan and add in the chopped onion, cooking until the vegetable is softened.
- Next, add salt and pepper to taste, and then add the can of tomato sauce.
- Stir in cooked rice and cook for another 5 minutes or until the rice is warm. (Meanwhile, cut the tops of the peppers off and spoon out the rubs and seeds. Rinse.)
- Lightly, sprinkle the inside of the pepper with salt and fill the peppers with the hot meat and rice mixture.
- In the bottom of a 3 quart baking dish, put a ¼ cup of water (so you can steam the peppers while they are cooking).
- Place peppers in baking dish and top with shredded cheese.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees until the peppers are tender and the cheese is brown.
- Serve hot & enjoy!
Abbey & Taylor
KANSAS CITY, Missouri, (April 18, 2016) – A dozen Shorthorn beef and dairy associations came together at the Conrad Resort in Punta Del Este, Uruguay for the World Shorthorn Conference and Council Meeting this month.
Associations from the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Canada and Uruguay took part in the conference. Included in the speaker line-up were three U.S. industry experts. Dr. Mark Tallman, from the USDA Meat Animal Research Center, in Clay Center, NE offered two presentations on heterosis and genetics. Barry Jordan of Waukaru Farms in Indiana presented a session on Shorthorn getting marketing share. Montie Soules, CEO of the American Shorthorn Association in Kansas City, MO presented information on multi-breed genetic evaluation and international collaboration for Shorthorn performance genetic evaluations. Other US attendees included past American Shorthorn Association, president, Dr. Les Mathers, Rhonda Soules, JR Glover and Voting delegates Lee and Joy Kirby.
The President of the World Shorthorn Council and Uruguay Shorthorn Association Dr. Walter Mario Damboriarena, orchestrated a tour of the Uruguay Shorthorn operations and led the conference.
During the conference, the Conrad Resort also hosted the meeting of the World Shorthorn Council where Lawrie Willet from Australia was elected as President for a three-year term. Frank Mills of the U.K. is retiring after 17 years of service as Secretary of the Council. Voting delegates from the U.S. were Montie Soules and Lee and Joy Kerby.
The next World Shorthorn Conference and Council Meeting will be held in 2019 in Australia, then on to Canada in 2022 and it will be held in the U.S. in 2025.
The new multi-breed genetic evaluation with the American Simmental Association has been a fairly smooth transition from a data and EPD perspective. Coupled with the database move to Digital Beef, there’s been a lot to digest in the last 12 months. Breeders have done a tremendous job of adopting and understanding the new breed averages and variation versus the old system. Likewise, your dedication to seeing that genomics is a tool in the box for all Shorthorn breeders has been incredible. On the other hand, much to our disappointment, the genomics ‘train’ has been an extremely slow ride with a number of stops, delays, and outright frustrations. Rest assured, the train is still on the tracks and headed in the right direction, albeit at a sluggish pace. This article should help prepare you for when the genomics train finally reaches the station. As well, it will offer insight for when utilizing genomics is a good idea versus other genetic selection tools already in your arsenal.
First of all, it is extremely important breeders understand genomic tests are not the ‘golden egg’ to beef production, maybe just the shiniest one of the dozen. Likewise, genomics cannot replace the need for collecting performance and carcass information on your herd. In reality, data submission is more important than ever to ensure that the money you invest in a genomic test is worth the spend. Like every other column on the paper, a genomic score is only as good as the data behind it, or in front of it (chronologically) in this case. Genomic tests are generated by taking information from higher accuracy animals, then using it to help predict the performance of young, low accuracy animals. As a result, genomics can only enhance the traits we already collect. For example, Shorthorn breeders will not be able to pull a hair or blood sample to enhance udder quality or docility until an EPD for those traits exists.
Which animals in my herd do I test? When do I collect and submit the samples?
In developing the tests, we asked for semen and/or DNA samples on older A.I. sires. Moving forward, there will be no reason to dig in the tank and test old genetics. Genomics cannot help the EPDs of high accuracy animals; they were used as the baseline for comparison to get the breed started towards genomic-enhanced EPDs. The true value of genomics is enhancing young animals not yet old enough to generate progeny, particularly daughters in production. Under the current system, a sire is 4-5 years old before performance data from his daughters can affect his EPD profile. A genomic test can fast forward some traits on the paper as if the bull already has 15 daughters in production! Young bulls or heifers that show promise can be tested as young as 1 month of age. If pulling hair, be sure that the root follicles or “root bulbs” come out with the hair strand. A blood sample may be better for extremely young cattle. Results from the genomic test may help breeders make decisions on how to manage or market that individual.
Many breeders collect DNA samples for genomic testing at either weaning or yearling. The cattle are in the chute, making the collection of hair or blood a part of the routine. Decisions can be made at a later date as to which animals actually get submitted; no need to submit DNA on critters headed to the cull pen or feedlot. In contrast, samples need to be submitted well in advance of printed sale catalogs. For example, if your bulls or females sell in March, submit the DNA in the fall so results enter the genetic evaluation and enhance the EPDs that typically come out in January.
What could I learn from the genomic information?
The days of stars and 1-10 scores for individual traits are gone. All genomic results are incorporated into the EPDs of the individual. It is important to note that genomics cannot “enhance” every trait on the paper equally. Unfortunately, some traits are largely controlled by the environment the calf endures; others are much more controlled by genetics. For example, the sex of the calf and the color of the hide are 100% controlled by genetics. No matter what we do to that animal from a management standpoint will not change the sex or the color of the calf at birth. On the other hand, a trait like Maternal Calving Ease EPD has a huge environmental component. How we feed, breed, and manage that cow can largely affect her ability to calve. However, genomics can play a significant role in this trait by offering genetic insight to the likelihood that a bull’s daughter will calve on their own. In a nutshell, the harder the trait is to measure, the more important genomics can become at enhancing the EPD.
Genomics also somewhat rely on the heritability of a trait. Heritability is the measure from 0 to 1 used to describe the level of genetic influence on the trait versus environment. Some look at heritability like a percentage of the phenotype that is ‘inherited’ by genetics. The higher the number, the more genetics influence the result. Marbling is a unique trait where genomics has been successful. Heritability for marbling is considered moderately heritable at approximately 0.30-0.35 for most breeds. A few small segments of the genome in some breeds do a very good job of predicting marbling, so the genomic test is successful. Other traits like Scrotal Circumference have very low heritability (0.10-0.15). If a genomic test can find markers that have a large influence on scrotal circumference, then the test has value. However, if scrotal circumference is truly controlled by thousands of gene segments, then the likelihood a genomic test is useful is very low. Breed to breed, genomics may show real promise for a trait in one breed, but be virtually useless in another breed. As a result, breed associations must independently develop and validate their own genomic tests.
Please don’t let the chart below overwhelm you; it can be very useful in understanding the effect genomics can have on an EPD. The Accuracy from 0 to 1 is down the left side. Individual EPDs are across the top. Keep in mind that some columns are not Shorthorn EPDs…yet. Most all pedigree estimate EPDs (the average of the sire and dam’s EPDs) come in under 0.10 Accuracy. Obviously, if the breeder reports calving ease, birth, weaning, and yearling data on the bull, the Accuracy for the bull’s growth traits can go up to roughly 0.35. Let’s use BW as an example. If you buy a yearling bull that is a +2.0 on BW EPD and his Accuracy is 0.10, the chart tells us that 68% of the time (1 standard deviation) the bull’s “true” EPD for BW will be between -0.7 and 4.7. And yes, 32% of the time, his true EPD could be even worse…or even better than that.
If the Shorthorn genomic test is run on that bull, his BW EPD may be +2.5 with an Accuracy of .40. Now, refer to the chart. The bull is now plus or minus 1.8, making his EPD likely between +0.7 and +4.3. We gain confidence that the bull is likely not a candidate for heifers. I would encourage you to enter the following link in your browser and read Dr. Scott Greiner’s article that further explains the chart.
Given our relatively small sample size, genomics for the Shorthorn breed will be an ongoing commitment from breeders of all sizes. The more performance data that gets submitted, the better the genomic tests can become. As an example, if we find a “rock star” bull for Marbling EPD based on ultrasound and the genomic test, we still need to follow his progeny to the rail and collect marbling scores or at least scan his sons and daughters to prove the bull even further. Then, we revalidate the genomic test for Marbling EPD and it becomes even more powerful and more significant as a tool for selection. In the end, genomics can be a real asset to breeders with just a few cows, those that rely heavily on embryo transfer, or breeders with large contemporary groups as they try to find ‘the one’ that will give them an edge or move their herd forward at an accelerated pace. The train is comin’.
Written By: American Shorthorn Association contributor, Patrick Wall
Patrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Performance data must be submitted to the ASA by May 31, 2016 in order to be included in the Fall 2016 North American Shorthorn Genetic Evaluation.
Carcass data can be sent directly to Jake Alden at email@example.com.