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New genetic tools explained by cattleman

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We have determined the value of a bull, first by his looks and then by his calves. Now, there are many more ways to project the progeny of a bull with greater confidence.

A cowboy explanation of modern genetic tools and how to wade through the mountain of information, in the program below.

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There are several genetic tools available to help producers select the right bull for every operation. So many tools, it can – at times – get confusing when trying to get your arms around which tool to use to collect the information you are most interested in. Donnell Brown of the RA Brown Ranch, in Throckmorton, Texas, spoke with Ron Hays of the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network. Brown offered his advice on how producers should approach this conundrum.

“There is a huge number of tools available to us today to select the right cattle,” Brown said. “The DNA enhancement has been huge.”

Brown describes some of the advancements that have been made relatively recently in the genetic evaluation arena. One of the more exciting things to come onto the scene is multi-breed genetic evaluation tools.

A producer is now capable of comparing and contrasting bulls of a diverse variety of breeds, where before EPD data was limited to a single breed. With the tools and products available today, Brown says there are more options and certainty a producer can have when making selection decisions for their breeding program than ever before.

“I look at it like this – It’s breeding season again and I have two options. I can use that bull I had success with one calf crop last year or I can use a bull I’ve never produced a calf out of. Now, which one do we have more trust and confidence in?” Brown asked. “The one we had proof in the pudding with. That’s human nature. DNA tests give us about that much accuracy as about similar to a full calf crop worth of data to say what this bull can deliver on calving ease, growth, carcass traits, for maternal traits, efficiency… all those things.”

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