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KayDee Gilkey Genetics May Solve Cattle Health Challenges
by KayDee Gilkey, click here for bio

Program: Land & Livestock Report
Date: August 22, 2014

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Recent advances in animal genetics have accelerated the use of genomics in the beef cattle. Scientists say developing genetic tools to limit Bovine Respiratory Disease, or BRD could save sectors of beef industry millions of dollars. Washington State Animal Scientist Dr. Holly Neibergs explains
Neibergs: “Without including the labor costs for animals in the feedlot that get sick or the loss in feed efficiency we have identified between $80 and over $100 million could be gained per year if there was selection for BRD. That is just for the feedlot industry that doesn’t include cow/calves or anything. But that shows you that there is an opportunity for us to reduce the prevalence of the disease and also increase the bottom line.”
Currently, in a multi-university, 5-year study, researchers from several disciplines are looking at BRD. They know there is a genetic connection. Now the team is working to uncover the details.
Neibergs: “So what we are trying to do is identify the actual the regions that are responsible for the susceptibility. Then we could select against the cattle that have that susceptibility. The idea is that we would be able to offer what those regions are to the cattle industry so they could have those animals genotyped at birth and decide whether they wanted to maintain those animals in their breeding herd knowing that their offspring and them as well would be less likely to have that disease. So we could reduce the incident of disease over generations.”


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