Beef cattle producers have a wide range of selection tools available for use in selection of breeding stock. These range from visual appraisal to EPD (expected progeny differences) and selection indexes that leverage genomic technologies. Adoption of new technologies by the beef industry has dramatically changed beef cattle selection strategies and opportunities. Beef genetics and genomic tools continue to evolve at a rapid rate.
To aid the development of new selection tools and their adoption by producers, researchers seek to understand current attitudes and perceptions of industry stakeholders. Producers and industry participants are encouraged to take part in an online survey to help inform the development of a new beef cattle selection decision support tool. This work is part of the activities funded through a recent USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Critical Agriculture Research and Extension grant (2018-68008-27888) awarded to research and extension faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kansas State University, USDA-ARS US Meat Animal Research Center and a leading genetic evaluation software developer, Theta Solutions, LLC.
“Bull purchasing decisions need to account for differing marketing goals and environmental constraints to improve profitability and sustainability, but these are unique to each herd as producer-specific production goals and inputs vary considerably,” says Dr. Matt Spangler, project director and University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor.
Industry research suggests that current bull purchasing decisions do not appear to use all relevant information available. Spangler adds, “Our team of leading beef genetic researchers and extension specialists aims to develop and provide software that enables beef producers to make more profitable genetic selection decisions, integrating additive and non-additive genetic effects, available resources, and firm-level economics.”
The online survey of industry stakeholders will explore their knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of current and envisioned beef genetic selection tools. Survey responses will be anonymous and summarized to help develop new selection tools and training programs. The survey is accessible until December 31, 2018, at: https://kstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_aXJA9F3EyMfmSpf.