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Breeding for Success: Why Genetic Evaluations Are the Future of Farming

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How genetic evaluations can affect the value of your herd and help you grow your business year over year.

Genetics are a foundational part of farming, whether you actively participate in genetic evaluations or breed naturally. Either way, the animals you breed pass on their characteristics, both good and bad, to their offspring. When it comes to selling meat and other animal products, the genetic makeup of your animals affects the quality of the products you put out, which in turn affects your bottom line.

With fluctuating meat prices, it’s a prudent business decision to invest the time and effort into improving the value of your animals through genetic evaluation. The objective is that whether times are good or bad in the meat market, you can consistently put out a high quality product and maintain high profits. Since it takes time to develop a calf and finally deliver the product to consumers, you’ll want to start genetic evaluations as soon as possible, with your eye on the long-term prize.

Here’s how genetic evaluations can affect your profits.

Identify Your Top Performing Animals

It’s no secret that the herd sire you select, as well as the females you choose for breeding, will have a significant impact on the next and subsequent generations of your herd. In some cases, selecting the right herd sire as opposed to an inferior one means the difference of tens of thousands of dollars. With genetic evaluations offered by a livestock management system, you can identify your top performing animals in order to make better breeding decisions. You can also compare animals across breeds and selectively breed your livestock to promote the most favourable characteristics.

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Improve Traits of Value for a Better Product

Selling beef is one thing, but selling high quality beef is quite another. Consumers pay more for top quality meat and animal products, and the top quality products come as a result of careful genetic selection for stronger traits of value, weeding out undesired characteristics.

To create a consistently high quality product, and thus a better bottom line, you’ll want to map out which characteristics are of most importance to you. Weaning weight, ease of calving, adult weight, retail beef yield, marbling score, fat distribution and rib fat thickness are all data that you can use to help you select the best animals for breeding.

You can also reduce operational costs by breeding for better temperament, resulting in easier and safer managing. In the end, it’s up to you to decide how you’d like to use the genetic information of your herd to best benefit your operation and meet your business goals.

Enhanced Livestock Performance through Genetic Selection

When you use genetic selection to breed improved characteristics into your herd, you essentially give yourself a safety net when it comes to production value. Genetic selection allows you to set the general upper and lower limits to the productivity of your animals, as well as giving you the capacity to develop your herd for a specific beef enterprise. Improving your herd genetics through genetic evaluations reduces the risks associated with farming and breeding, and allows you to gain more profits as you gradually increase the value of your herd generation upon generation.


While non-genetic factors, such as pasture management, feed quality and health management, have an impactful influence on the quality of your animals, genetic evaluations pave the way for enhanced livestock management by giving you control over a process that, in the past, was simply up to nature. With modern livestock management software that allows for easy genetic evaluations and comparisons, you no longer have to rely on chance when it comes to breeding your animals and developing the next generation. Each generation of your herd should be better performing than the last, helping you to grow your business and increase your profits year over year.

What practices do you currently use to increase the performance of your animals? How will you use genetic evaluations to better your herd? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

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