Leveraging genomic technology and collaborative producer education to support better heifer selection programs for the Canadian cow herd

Project Details

Status: Active
Investment: $3,755,375
Commodity: Beef Cattle
Organization: Canadian Angus Association
Investigator: Kajal Latimer

"From a geneticist's perspective, the opportunity to lead this project is a dream come true. Thanks to the project partnerships and support from RDAR, we can link animal performance information from all parts of the Canadian beef industry to create genomic predictions that work for our commercial sector. Nothing is more rewarding than having the opportunity to develop science and systems that support our commercial producers."
Dr. Kajal Latimer, Director of Science and Technology, Canadian Angus Association

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

There is a significant industry need to connect data from beef production sectors together to achieve an effective tool towards genetic improvement. The collaborators included in this project strongly believe that the most effective tool that can be achieved by leveraging data from the seedstock and commercial sectors of the Canadian beef industry is a robust genomic selection tool to enable information heifer selection decisions.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

Alberta beef producers stand to benefit from this genomic research. This project delivers meaningful mechanisms to move the entire Canadian beef herd forward. The Canadian Angus Association (CAA) is committed to leveraging the million phenotypes and genotypes that its members have invested in to accomplish a cutting edge, made and validated in Canada, genomic selection tool for commercial heifers.

This collaborative project lays ground for standardized and collaborative technology development and producer education. The deliverables from this project will be available to all beef breed associations that wish to deliver standardized and collaborative industry messaging towards genetic improvement and genomically informed heifer retention for their commercial customer base. 

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

The project partners the Canadian Angus Association (CAA) and the Canadian Hereford Association (CHA) and Telus Ag are committed to development of robust information delivery tools that support producer education and adoption of this genomic heifer selection tool. Project partners will provide staff to engage with commercial producers, help them take DNA samples, and record data. Education material using different modalities including easy to follow how to videos will be developed. Visualization tools for producers to access their results, that are supportive to applying information from the use of genomic technology, will be developed, keeping producer usability in mind.

RDAR funds for this project are contributed through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable-CAP) funded by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments.

Sign-Up For Updates

Subscribe to our newsletter to be in the know about what's happening in agricultural research and RDAR.