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Progressive Forum: Genetic selection

Lynn Gordon Published on 25 August 2014

progressive forumProgressive Forum is a compilation of viewpoints from cattle producers on a given topic. Hear what those with boots on the ground have to say about the issues.


What element of genetics/genetic selection do you put the most emphasis on at your operation?

Joe Mushrush

Joe Mushrush
Mushrush Red Angus
Strong City, Kansas

“We focus on cow traits, specifically maternal. The cow is the factory and is the most important element in our herd. We also focus on convenience traits such as calving ease, stayability, fertility and longevity.”



Jerry connealy

Jerry Connealy
Connealy Angus
Mullen, Nebraska

“I believe firmly in the DNA information the American Angus Association has made available to us. The future of genetics and genetic selection is going to be centered on it.

If we want to move ahead, we need to embrace DNA and put emphasis on it, whether it is toward sire selection or replacement heifer selection.”

Gilbert Guerrero

Gilbert Guerrero
Matador Cattle Company
Eureka, Kansas

“We are in the process of trying to get the most efficient cow through DNA selection. Our focus is finding the best traits through new genetic selection tools.

We raise Akaushi cattle, and the genetic selection traits we focus on are milk, reproduction and feed conversion efficiency.”

Richard Pennock

Richard Pennock

North Yorkshire, U.K.

“We select our cattle with higher growth rates and carcass traits, but what’s important is integrating the supply of information, as I think that it gets lost in the stages from the cow-calf producer to feeder and down the chain.

I am interested in where the future of genomics can go in the development of DNA markers to determine the need or potential to vaccinate for respiratory diseases.” (Editor note: Pennock was a U.K. Nuffield Scholar selected to travel the U.S. and has a 1,000-head feedlot in the U.K.)

Dean Bryant

Dean Bryant
Rosetta Farm
Monkton, Maryland

“In our selection we focus on $W and $B indexes developed by the American Angus Association because this combines everything from birth to finish.

When we are seeking A.I. sires, we only look for those in the top 1 percent in the $W and $B indexes as our first criteria, but generally all fall in to 10 percent for both.

These are important parameters to us because we buy back our genetics for our branded beef program.”

Steve and Penny Radakovich

Steve and Penny Radakovich
RCC Cattle Company
Earlham, Iowa

“Our goal is to keep everything in balance rather than have the tendency to pigeonhole specific traits. But in selection you need to work on the trait that you are lacking the most.

If it happens to be growth, then you need to select for that. We provide this same advice to our clients we work with – balance is best, but if you need a trait, you need to seek it out.”   end mark