The American Simmental Association recently initiated a large genotyping project to collect more carcass records and genotypes on sire-identified terminal calves to improve progeny equivalents for carcass traits. All harvested cattle will be genotyped and the resulting data will be incorporated into the International Genetic Solutions Multi-breed Genetic Evaluation powered by BOLT.

The beef industry has seen vast improvements in carcass quality over time through genetic selection. With these improvements the average feedlot steer can be expected to have a larger ribeye, a higher degree of marbling and less external fat than cattle 20 years ago. But, progress is slow when it comes to carcass trait selection.

Carcass trait predictions tend to have lower accuracy than growth traits, which inherently slows down the amount of genetic progress made over time. The ability to predict carcass traits is tied to collecting actual carcass records, which is the rarest form of data submitted. Genomics and ultrasound records can improve accuracy on unproven animals, but high accuracy carcass expected progeny differences cannot be obtained without actual carcass records on progeny.

The ASA is invested in providing its membership and commercial cattlemen the best EPD predictions possible. Recently, the ASA Board of Trustees approved a genotyping project to collect more actual carcass records and genotypes on sire-identified terminal calves.

These calves lay the groundwork for improved progeny equivalents for carcass traits on all DNA panels. The ASA is working with seedstock and commercial cattlemen who retain ownership on terminal calves. Over 3,500 calves have currently been accepted into the program. All of the calves will be genotyped once they have been harvested and the resulting information will be included in the IGS Multi-breed Genetic Evaluation powered by BOLT.

Breeders from across the country are urged to consider the wealth of information available in their terminal calves. For any questions on how to submit carcass information to the ASA or questions regarding the project contact Lane Giess at lgiess@simmgene.com or 406-587-4531 ext. 129.

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