Montana: Angus Association-sponsored DNA workshops |

Montana: Angus Association-sponsored DNA workshops

Photo by Bill BrewsterAndy Rest, left, and Courtney Kealey and held DNA workshops across Montana for the American Angus Association.

The American Angus Association (AAA) and Igenity sponsored six DNA workshops across Montana recently to provide detailed information to producers about this new trendsetting technology.

Conducted by Andy Rest, AAA regional manager, and Courtney Kealey, the Igenity sales representative, the workshops were held in Missoula, Glendive, Lewistown, Bozeman, Billings, and Great Falls on Oct 5-7, 2010.

“In today’s competitive market, Angus seedstock producers can’t afford to take a gamble when it comes to marketing selection decisions in their herd,” Kealey said. “Animals chosen as replacements will help to define the genetic direction and profitability of a herd for years to come.”

Kealey said Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI) and Igenity have entered into a partnership to provide association members with genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (EPDs) that are powered by the Igenity profile for Angus cattle.

According to Kealey, the partnership marks the first time in the industry’s history that beef producers have access to genomic-enhanced EPDs for multiple traits at once – and all derived from a breed-specific Angus profile.

“Genomic-enhanced EPDs are the next advancement in beef cattle genetics and allow Angus producers the ability to refine their selection decisions,” she said. “The ability to collect a DNA sample on any animal at any age provides a clearer picture of its genetic merit earlier in its life than ever before.”

With the Igenity profile, breeders can obtain comprehensive genomic result for multiple traits.

They include marbling, ribeye area, fat thickness, carcass weight, tenderness, calving ease direct, birth weight, weaning weight, average daily gain, yearling weight, dry matter intake, residual feed intake, yearling height, scrotal, docility, heifer pregnancy, maternal calving ease, maternal milk, mature weight and mature height.

Additional tests are available for Arthrogryposis multiplex (AM), Neuropathic Hydrocephalus (NH) and coat color.

Kealey said that the DNA information is an important new tool because it increases the accuracy of EPDs in young, unproven animals. The higher the accuracy, the closer the EPD is to the animal’s true breeding value, she noted. High accuracies also take some of the risk out of selecting young animals, because the window of possible change for that EPD and corresponding trait becomes smaller.

“The increase in accuracy from incorporating the Igenity profile for Angus is equivalent to adding about 16 progeny to a wean[ed] bull’s marbling EPD, for example,” she said. “For young bulls with ultrasound, incorporating the Igenity profile is comparable to adding an additional 12 progeny on top of ultrasound data.

“The Igenity profile for Angus can also provide EPDs for embryo transfer calves that result in the ability to identify the superior flush mate early on in its life. Genomic-enhanced EPDs can also help identify the bulls with the genetics worthy of greater development costs.

“With the right tools, Angus producers can now know the genetic potential of each animal before its influence is felt in the herd,” she added.

Sample collection can be done at anytime or age but collecting samples when cattle are being processed might be the most convenient time, Kealey said.

Rest said the cost to obtain DNA data is $65.

The first step to get started is to go to and then access the AAA login with the customer code to order sample collection kits.

He said most DNA sample types – blood, hair or semen – are being accepted, but blood samples on FTA cards are preferred. Samples should be mailed to AGI and results are being returned via the customer log-in function on

Prior to being sent to Igenity for processing, AGI assigns a bar code to each sample and removes any identifying information such as owner and pedigree.

Genomic-enhanced EPDs are being returned to producers in about three- to four-weeks after samples are received.

For additional information on pricing, sample submission or the Igenity profile, visit or call 816-383-5100.

Rest Kealy:

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