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Advancing Genetic Improvement Across the Canadian Beef Industry

Project Code: KTT.04.20
Completed: In Progress. Results expected in March 2023.

Project Title:

Leveraging the Canadian Beef Improvement Network's (CBIN's) Collaboration and Resources to Advance Genetic Improvement Across the Canadian Beef Industry

Researchers:

Michael Latimer – Canadian Beef Breeds Council mlatimer@beefbreeds.ca

Betty-Jo Almond - AgSights, Myles Immerkar – Canadian Angus Association, Craig Scott – Canadian Charolais Association, Stephen Scott – Canadian Hereford Association, Bruce Holmquist – Canadian Simmental Association

Background:

The ongoing development of the Canadian Beef Improvement Network (CBIN) has resulted in unprecedented cooperation and collaboration from industry leaders. This outcome has elevated the focus on advancing and aggregating genetic improvement resources and information for commercial cattle producers through data sharing, standardization and simplification in order to advance genetic improvement strategies within Canadian beef production. The intent is providing a better understanding of the value of genetic improvement in beef cattle production and increased accuracy in a readily accessible, customizable genetic selection tool.  

Objectives:

The main objective of this project is to exhibit the value captured at both the individual operation level and throughout the entire beef industry when cooperatively focusing on increasing genetic understanding and facilitating adoption of customizable genetic selection tools for the benefit of commercial cow/calf producers. This project is a first step in developing resources and extension practices that will enable all sectors of the Canadian beef cattle industry to capitalize on significant efficiencies with respect to genetic improvement. 

What they will do:

The key deliverables of the project will be to improve an existing online tool (Amplify), to create the CBIN Dashboard that will deliver: (1) consolidated educational resources on genetic improvement, (2) a national across-breed (commercial and seedstock) animal selection tool and, (3) genetic trends on traits of relevance to the greater beef industry. The Dashboard will be housed on the CBIN website with links on BeefResearch.ca along with the websites of all the collaborative partners. 

Each breed association (Canadian Angus Association (CAA), Canadian Charolais Association (CCA), Canadian Hereford Association (CHA) and Canadian Simmental Association (CSA)) will recruit two or three registered seedstock members (a minimum of eight seedstock members total) to participate in this pilot project. A relationship with commercial buyers will be essential, as two or three commercial buyers of each registered seedstock breeder (a minimum of sixteen commercial buyers total) will be selected to become a member of the pilot project.  

Producer and animal data and abEPDs will be analyzed and presented in the CBIN Dashboard. The addition of intuitive support features such as, hover help, pop-up videos and links to relevant pages will ensure proper understanding and use of the CBIN Dashboard. A resources and training section will also be included, centralizing and consolidating resources that are currently dispersed across the North American beef industry including breed associations, Beef Cattle Research Council, Beef Improvement Federation and others. 

Hands-on workshops with participating producers and early-adopters, webinars, and presentations at producer-focused industry events will be used to increase awareness, understanding and adoption of the tool for commercial cattle producers. 

Implications:

The CBIN dashboard will enable producers to learn and then apply their own breeding and operational objectives and identify animals that will optimize genetic improvement and end product value. Industry stakeholders including producer associations, packers, retailers and others will be able to access the CBIN Dashboard to gain data-driven insights on genetic improvement trends that can be used in product claims, a feature that in the long-term will improve the sustainability and public perception of Canada’s beef industry.

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