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Keywords

Angus, genomics, marbling, artificial insemination

Abstract

The beef industry has improved the recording of pedigrees and performance data through the use of breed associations and herd health databases. Constant evaluation of genetics and performance has allowed producers to make more informed breeding decisions that help improve herd productivity. As a result of recent droughts and elevated feed and grain prices, however, the American beef cowherd is at a record-low 29 million head. For the United States to continue to be the leading producer of beef in the world, the industry must adopt technologies that improve efficiency of the cowherd and the quality of beef being produced. There are two sizable pools of relatively low-grading, low-value carcass genetics in the U.S. beef industry: (1) southern cattle with significant Bos indicus influence, and (2) cattle with a relatively high percentage of Continental breeding. The objective of this research project was to demonstrate the improvement in marbling and grid premium potential that can be made in a cow base with average to below-average genetic potential in just one generation through the use of genomics and artificial insemination.

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