IBBA introducing commercial cattle genomic service

The International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) will introduce a new DNA test for the profiling and selection of commercial replacement heifers.

IBBA is rolling out the Igenity® Brangus profiler in partnership with Neogen GeneSeek Operations as part of a plan to diversify and grow its genomic services and enhance the tools available to producers.

Commercial producers can already purchase Brangus seedstock that are backed up by Genomic-Enhanced Expected Progeny Differences (GE EPDs), according to Dr. Tommy Perkins, IBBA executive vice president.

Soon they also can use similar technology on their own ranch to select Brangus replacement heifers.

“This service will help them move faster and more cost-effectively towards their production goals through earlier selection of heifers with the right combination of economically relevant traits associated with the Brangus breed,” Perkins said. Producers also will be able to predict tenderness and confirm parentage in the heifers that they select to retain.

“This will be incredibly important information that will impact their production system economics along with their ability to represent their steers in the feeder calf market,” he said.

Igenity Brangus will profile traits currently provided as birth, growth and carcass trait EPDs by IBBA. Plus, the test will use Taurus and Indicus parentage markers for sire identification along with tenderness markers. The traits will be provided as easy-to-use 1 to 10 scores. The scores actually predict traits that profiled heifers will pass on to their offspring, he said.

For example, a Brangus heifer that scores well for moderate birthweight, easy calving, good yearling weight and good tenderness would be an ideal keeper, he noted.

“Using genomics, you can look at those characteristics when that heifer is a young calf, before you put a lot of investment into her as a replacement, and make some confident decisions about which are the best to keep and which will be sold as feeders,” Perkins said.

Brangus-specific indexes will be used in the reports to help producers put selection pressure on multiple traits simultaneously, he added.

Traits will include:

  • Maternal: Birth weight, calving ease direct, calving ease maternal, scrotal circumference
  • Performance: Weaning weight, yearling weight, milk
  • Carcass: IMF, REA, fat, tenderness
  • Parentage: Taurus/Indicus markers

Commercial producers will order the tests from IBBA and send their test samples to the association, where orders will be entered and forwarded on to GeneSeek.

“Our goal is to give commercial producers information they can use to measure and select their future brood cows and Brangus steers. We also aim to further define our EPDs for fertility, performance and carcass merit for purebred Brangus breeders by accelerating the use of genomics and phenotypic data collection by commercial cattleman using the Igenity Brangus profiler product,” he said.

Brangus will partner with Neogen GeneSeek for genomic services to run the tests and is using the established Igenity brand name to quickly build a recognized commercial cattle profile.

“Neogen GeneSeek has been an important partner in our DNA testing services, and we appreciate tapping into their broad experience across the commercial cattle market to design and field this new test,” Perkins said. “Their innovation cycle and the bioinformatics services that they provide our staff make this new product a natural extension to our business relationship.”

“We are very pleased to expand our partnership with the International Brangus Breeders,” said Micah Wells, director of sales for beef genomics at Neogen. “We look forward to working with them to provide, fast, effective, affordable DNA testing solutions for their members and customers.”

About IBBA: The International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, strives to provide the commercial cattle industry, domestically and internationally, with the best genetics possible. Founded in 1949 as the American Brangus Breeders, the organization has since evolved into the IBBA. The IBBA’s purpose is to enable its members to produce quality beef for the commercial cattle industry and its consumers.

About Neogen Corporation: Neogen’s worldwide genomics operations deliver innovative, affordable DNA testing for the discovery and commercial application of genomic advances that enhance the safety and abundance of life. DNA testing services are provided for food, animals, aquaculture, agronomy, forestry and horticulture, as well as supporting the research institutions and breeding organizations serving these industries.

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