September 2016

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Register Now: Livestock Gentec Conference 2016

Livestock Gentec’s annual conference is fast approaching. This year’s theme, Managing in a Time of Unprecedented Change, could not be more appropriate given the challenges all livestock producers face.
Last month, we highlighted the combined beef/dairy sessions and the dairy breakout session. Here, we focus on some of the beef session presentations.
When Steve Miller, a former member of the Gentec executive and UGuelph professor accepted an invitation to speak, he was living in the deep South of New Zealand working as Principle Scientist of the Animal Genomics Team with AgResearch Ltd. Now back in North America as Director, Genetic Research for Angus Genetics, Steve focuses on the genetic improvements made in seedstock populations and how to accelerate the adoption and impact of technology in commercial cattle. Some of the technologies advocate include the collection, use and linking of commercial phenotypes, electronic recording systems, and computer carcass grading across the value chain.
John Stika, President of Certified Angus Beef, works the same circuit backwards, starting with consumer preferences as they relate to beef attributes, linking them backwards from the 896 million lb of beef sourced and delivered to 15,000 restaurants and retailers in 2015 to the ranchers and the tools they use to produce great beef.
The day concludes with the GrowSafe-supported student poster competition and a feast of Alberta beef, pork and poultry at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse.
For more information and to register, click here.

China welcomes Canadian beef

After closing its doors to Canadian beef after the BSE crisis in 2003, China has been slow to open them up again. A new agreement will help Canadians gain access to this $200 million market. Read more here.

Get your cows involved in research

Want to know more about the feed efficiency and traits of your cattle? Interested in contributing to research that can make a difference in Canadian beef cattle production?

Researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Gentec are asking producers to send in samples from their herds for use in a genomic prediction trial. Find out how to participate here.

Kinsella Field Day report

Livestock Gentec’s Field Day returned to the Roy Berg Kinsella Research Station after being held at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Lacombe R&D Centre in 2015. Ranchers, researchers and funders from around the province enjoyed a day of discovery relating to emerging and adopted science.
The majority of the morning session saw Michelle Welsh of Strathmore deliver the theory and practice of the R.A.N.G.E. animal handling philosophy, first explaining the approach of Recognizing; accounting for the age and actions of the animals; Need for a plan; the implementation of "Getting It Done"; and finally the benefits of maintaining an E-Record of Management for a handy future reference of animal intervention.  This was followed by a live animal-handling demonstration at Kinsella’s Middle Corral.
Conversely, the remainder of the morning and the entire afternoon focused on science, with the majority of the time spent reviewing the cow-calf showcases of the Kinsella Composite, Angus and Charolais herds. Ranchers who had donated semen straws and contributed to the advancement of their herds being studied at Kinsella were recognized by the Angus and Charolais associations. Discussions focused on the use of genomics, indexes, and current and ongoing advances in areas such as feed efficiency, meat quality, and how efforts areexpanding to provide greater impact across commercial herds. 
It was a great opportunity to showcase the industry research partnerships at Gentec, interact with producers, and thank the supporters of the event, such as the Canadian Angus and Charolais associations, Alberta Financial Services Corporation and NSERC who provided lunch and explained their financial support programs for industry/academic research projects.

New National Check-off study shows increased benefits to Canadian cattle producers

A new study finds that Canadian cattle producers receive a $14 benefit for every $1 from national checkoff fees invested in research and marketing.

The study in Resource Economics and Environmental Sustainability by Gentec-associated researchers James Rude and Ellen Goddard looks at 2011-12 to 2013-14, and updates an earlier study that put the benefit-cost ratio at $9 for every $1 check-off. Read more here.

Alberta Beef Producers: A voice for the industry

ABP promotes the Albertan and Canadian beef industry tirelessly through strategy, branding and research. Read here how the three tie together to ensure the success of the industry for the future.

VIDEO: How Cobb-Vantress makes genomics work in the poultry business

Cobb-Vantress is one of the largest poultry broiler breeders in the world, and uses a wide array of technologies to continually improve the quality and efficiency of its birds. Mitch Abrahamsen, VP R&D at the company, made a second appearance at a Livestock Gentec conference in 2015, speaking on the implementation of technology and on the impact of genomics (view the video here). His message is simple, even if the implementation is a little more complex. He summarizes it as: (1) More data are better, (2) Phenotypes are king, (3) Genomic selection works, and (4) selection pressure drives genetic progress. 

Mitch also explains how consumer and environmental aspects are leading the company to use genomics in an effort to select for birds that achieve greater feed efficiency, use less water, and thrive in a wider range of environments allowing for higher heat environments (less air conditioning use) and without the need for antibiotics.

Nicky Lansink rides a wave of success

Gentec student Nicky Lansink is back from Australia, courtesy of GrowSafe, after winning a $10,000 Keith Gilmore Scholarship for beef cattle innovation. Find out more about what makes her tick.

World-class ag prize comes to UAlberta

Gentec-associated researcher and VP Research at UAlberta, Lorne Babiuk, has won the 2016 World Agriculture Prize for developing five vaccines with big impact on animal health. Read more here about his contribution to agriculture, human health, and what else he has up his sleeve.

gGreenBeefCow project will improve social licence to practise

Gentec-associated researchers Carolyn Fitzsimmons, John Basarab and Leluo Guan are working from different angles towards the same goal: to improve feed efficiency in cattle and reduce methane emissions. Read how it all comes together in the ALMA-funded gGreenBeefCow project here.

Events calendar


From coloured yolks to double yolks

Last month, we were a little bit freaked out that the colour of yolks was manipulated. This month, we're a lot less jumpy about the frequency of double yolks. UAlberta's self-proclaimed chicken gynecologist and science communicator extraordinaire provides a simple answer to what might otherwise make us (even more) paranoid.

The lighter side

Privacy matters--even to those who don't know they need it. Google admits to being "udderly overzealous." See the proof here.

No matter how expensive you think real meat is, it pales in comparison to this porky art. See how creative people can be here.

Both these items are British. The madness that is Brexit may have spread...
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Livestock Gentec · 8215-112 Street · Edmonton, AB T6G 2C8 · Canada

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