cows in field

Press Releases

RDAR supports beef genomics technology adoption with the delivery of a $2.2M investment into Livestock Gentec

June 3, 2024 - Edmonton, AB – RDAR is delivering $2.2M to Livestock Gentec, in funding that is cost-shared by the federal and provincial governments under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. This investment will drive the adoption of tools that will improve the genetic selection of beef cattle and power economic and environmentally positive changes within Alberta’s livestock sector.

Genetic improvements are key to increasing producer efficiency and profitability while improving overall animal performance. The technology, produced by Livestock Gentec — an Alberta Innovates Centre housed at the University of Alberta — includes selection tools based on extensive genomic, feed efficiency, and meat quality data collected from commercial cattle across Canada. 

Livestock Gentec will engage with beef producers, industry service providers, and regional producer associations to transform genomic data into decision-making information that producers can use directly. Over 60 Alberta producers and more than 10,000 animals have already been committed to this project, with selected traits being feed efficiency, disease resistance, female fertility, and longevity. 

“Alberta’s high-quality, sustainable beef is in high demand around the world. This investment in genetic technologies will help producers improve their sustainability and their bottom line, allowing them to grow their business and increase their competitiveness.” 
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada  

“Alberta’s government is committed to maintaining our province’s reputation for producing and exporting safe, sustainable, great-tasting beef. With this investment, farmers will be able to use real-time genetic data to improve the performance of their cattle and the profitability of their operation.” 
Hon. RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation  

Improving hybrid vigour, meaning offspring have more desirable traits than parents, is worth $160/cow/year, according to Genomic Validation studies done on Alberta’s commercial cows. This means that improving hybrid vigour for Canada’s 3.56M beef cattle would equate to over $200M for the beef sector, benefiting not just producers but the entire supply chain. 

Data-driven genetic decisions and the adoption of genetic technologies will benefit the whole Canadian beef production value-chain. Using accurate genetic data is essential to ensuring Alberta beef continues to be known worldwide as the best. This genomic technology will drive sustainable growth across the cattle industry." 
Dr. David Chalack DVM, Chair, RDAR Board of Directors  

This funding will support further development of genomic tools, collaboration with producers and service providers to implement genomics in their herds and help drive adoption across the sector. 

 “The adoption of genomic tools by the Canadian beef industry is critical to its competitiveness, profitability and sustainability. This 4-year project delivered by RDAR, under Sustainable CAP, provides beef producers with an incentive to start or continue their journey of using genomics and data driven genetic decisions to improve their profit and environmental sustainability in a changing climate. Speaking for myself and the team at Livestock Gentec, the University of Alberta, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, we are excited to work with producers and their service providers to deploy and evaluate these genomic tools in the many production environments of western Canada.” 
Dr. John Basarab, CEO of Livestock Genetec and RDAR Professor, University of Alberta 

“With the exponential advances in genomics, animal health, and data management, huge opportunities exist to improve the competitiveness, profitability, and environmental impact of organizations able to generate, manipulate, and integrate data to optimize their operations. Taken together, these now allow companies to tie genetic, environmental, and animal management decisions directly to animal health, performance, and the overall operational profitability and environmental outcomes within their organizations.” 
Dr. G. Kee Jim, DVM 

About Livestock Gentec 
Livestock Gentec is a center for applied research and commercialization that was established in 2010 and is based at the University of Alberta. It operates as an integrated pipeline for research, development, and technology, collaborating globally with the mandate of delivering technology to the beef industry in Canada. 

About RDAR 
RDAR's mandate is to target strategic investments in producer-led, results-driven agriculture research to power the profitability, productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability of Agriculture in Alberta. A not-for-profit corporation, RDAR's funding comes from the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. 

About the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership  
The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) is a five-year, $3.5-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of the Canada’s agriculture, agri‐food and agri‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.