Why is this research important for Alberta ag?
Crossbreeding is used in beef cattle production to take advantage of breed complementary an heterosis or hybrid vigour for numerous economically important traits. Depending on the breed composition of the sire and dam, crossbreeding can maximize heterozygosity and consequently, heterosis, as they are linearly related. It is well-documented that heterosis increases longevity, reproductive reate, and overall fitness of beef cows.
This project aims to validate a low-cast DNA tool, estimated at 1/10th of the cost, to monitor herd-level genomic breed composition, retained heterozygosity, and sire contribution using DNA pooling.
What benefits can producers expect from this research?
This project aims to improve economic net returns, improve herd health and resilience, and reduce carbon footprint. Properly designed crossbreeding strategies that optimize hybrid vigour in the cowherd are known to improve fertility, stayability, adaptability, general health, and lifetime productivity.
How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?
Livestock Gentec will lead the knowledge transfer for this project, working with team researchers, cow-cal producers, industry organizations, and a newly-funded project called "Arm-chair Rancher", designed to bring modern IT innovations to beef ranches across Alberta.
A dashboard will be developed to deliver herd information via mobile apps directly to participating producers.
Results will also be shared at industry events, workshops, and newsletters.
Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.