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Beefmaster Selection Indices Developed to Increase Profitability

SAN ANTONIOBeefmaster Breeders United (BBU) is pleased to announce the development and release of their Terminal ($T) and Maternal ($M) Indices. Commercial cattlemen now have the most powerful Beefmaster selection tools at their fingertips. The release of $T Terminal Index and $M Maternal Index now allows commercial cattlemen to target their bull selections to achieve specific production goals.

These indices were developed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, specifically working with Dr. Matt Spangler, Associate Professor of Animal Science/Extension Beef Genetics Specialist, and Animal Breeding and Genetics graduate student Katie Ochsner.

“These two economic indices allow users of Beefmaster genetics to select seedstock based on their genetic potential for profit and alleviate the cumbersome nature of sorting through scores of individual EPDs,” said Dr. Spangler. “Producers should clearly define their production goals and use the index that best fits them. Use of the incorrect index could lead to undesired responses given the two objectives (terminal vs maternal) emphasize different traits.”

The $T index is designed to assist buyers in selecting range bulls that will excel in live performance, feedyard and value adding, grid driving carcass traits. $T is the ideal tool for the retained ownership rancher or commercial cow herds that are aligned with supply chains that demand added performance, efficiency and carcass merit.

The $M index goes to the heart of what every commercial cattleman demands in today’s market. The Beefmaster maternal index is best explained as the dollar profit per cow exposed due to calf weaning weight accounting for costs associated with cow maintenance. The beef industry has realized the value of Beefmaster influenced heterosis and $M is another tool that will help ranchers leverage heterosis to produce more productive replacement females.

It is important for ranchers to know the difference between these two indices. $T will help cattlemen select for high performing, fast growing genetics that by their very nature tend to be large, faster growing animals. $M should be used if a rancher is producing replacement females and is concerned with fertility, cow maintenance and associated costs, while adding weaning weight to the calf crop.

Cattle producers can access and review index values on the Beefmaster animal search database.

For more information or questions please contact Beefmaster Breeders United at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org.

Learn more and see examples at Beefmaster $Values Indices

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Beefmaster Signals Change with New Logo, Website Redesign

SAN ANTONIOBeefmaster Breeders United (BBU) has unveiled a redesigned website and a new association logo at www.beefmasters.org. The release of a new logo and a fresh website design signals a change within the Beefmaster breed and positions them as the top American cattle breed. This new logo marks a dramatic change in its visual identity since 1961. Using a distinctive Beefmaster bull head and bold lettering, the new logo reflects the modern look and marketability of the Beefmaster animals seen in today’s cattle industry.

“Our new logo better communicates what Beefmaster Breeders United stands for today,” said BBU Executive Vice President Bill Pendergrass. “We’ve kept visual elements that reflect our heritage but we emphasized our forward-thinking mindset and objective to achieve strong growth, drive innovation and focus on sustainability.”

The redesigned website presents a new visual identity for the company and was developed to meet the modern needs of members, clients and commercial cattlemen. The new homepage welcomes visitors with bold bright colors, a clean uncluttered design, and highlights content focused on specific audiences. In order to enhance site navigation, the website is now mobile device responsive and allows visitors to search the site using keywords. The website also houses two new features: Find a Breeder and a media center. These features allow cattlemen to locate a Beefmaster breeder in their area using Google maps, as well as view Beefmaster publications, stock photos and educational videos.

The new logo and website were designed by EDJE of Iowa.

For more information call the office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org.

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Bauer Joins Beefmaster as Second Field Rep

SAN ANTONIOBeefmaster Breeders United (BBU) is proud to announce that Lance Bauer of Bryan, Texas, has joined the BBU staff as the Western Region Field Representative. Bauer provides field assistance to Beefmaster breeders and commercial beef producers that are located west of Interstate-45 in Texas and west of Oklahoma. Matthew Woolfolk continues to serve as the Eastern Field Representative and covers all areas east of Interstate-45 in Texas, as well as Oklahoma and all states to the east.

Bauer began his responsibilities on July 1st and provides ranch consultation services to members, while also increasing the Beefmaster breed’s exposure in the commercial marketplace. His responsibilities include promoting and supplying support for BBU programs, while also encouraging breeder education and improving breeding plans.

Bauer grew up in Kerrville, Texas, and is currently completing his PhD in Animal Breeding and Genetics at Texas A&M University. He has an exemplary animal science background and an extensive knowledge in animal breeding research. Bauer has conducted and assisted with multiple research projects including; breed and sex influence on calf birth weight in purebred and crossbred Angus and Nellore calves, as well as temperament studies at Texas A&M University Research Center in McGregor, Texas. His research project even took him to South Africa to further his education. His research studies were also complimented by his multiple Animal Science teaching roles. At Texas A&M he taught Beef Cattle Production and Animal Breeding, with focus on EPDs and expected cross bred performance. Bauer has completed the research and teaching requirements of the PhD program and is currently defending his thesis. He is expected to graduate in May 2017.

“Lance has joined the Beefmaster team during an exciting time. He will provide our association with a wealth of knowledge in the realm of animal genetics and enhancing breeding programs,” said BBU Executive Vice President Bill Pendergrass. “We are thrilled to have Lance as the Western Field Rep, which will allow our association to reach more breeders and cattle producers through field services.”

For more information or to contact the BBU staff members call the office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org.

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Genomic Update: 170 Animals Added

UPDATE JULY 1, 2016
Another 170 genotypes have been added to the BBU animal database which has yielded a total of 704 animals with genotypes and GE-EPDs. They have all been loaded into the search engine and are identified by the “Beefmaster Genomics” logo.

Click here to download the Beefmaster GE-EPD Evaluation: July 1, 2016

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Advertise in The Beefmaster Pay Weight

Don’t miss your opportunity to advertise your cattle operation and production sale in Fall 2016! We are currently selling advertisement space in the upcoming issue of The Beefmaster Pay Weight. For more information or to reserve your space today call 210-732-3132.

The Beefmaster Pay Weight Fall 2016 issue will be published September 2016. It is a publication produced by Beefmaster Breeders United and dedicated to serving commercial cattlemen. The newspaper features the latest beef cattle industry news, innovative discoveries in the industry and discussions about the latest cattle trends and technologies. The Beefmaster Pay Weight was founded to assist the Beefmaster cattle industry with effective advertising and a communication tool with commercial cattlemen throughout the country.

Get price details in our Media Kit!

View previous issues of The Beefmaster Pay Weight!

Spring 2016 Fall 2015

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Beefmaster Genomic-Enhanced EPDs Evaluation

Welcome to the Beefmaster breed’s first ever genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs) evaluation. This is a project that was envisioned by the Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation (B.E.E.F.) in 2009 and many Beefmaster breeders worked hard to ensure that the Beefmaster breed achieved the goal of GE-EPDs.

GE-EPDs are the most effective genetic selection tool developed to date. The ability to include DNA derived information in combination with traditional performance EPDs has led to greater genetic improvements at a faster pace, in other species and in other cattle breeds. GE-EPDs will no doubt have the same impact on the Beefmaster breed.

In order to make these first-ever Beefmaster GE-EPDs as visible possible we are posting all of the GE-EPDs together in this document – Beefmaster GE-EPD Evaluation: June 6, 2016. You will also find specific animal GE-EPDs by searching animal names or registration numbers through the search function at www.beefmasters.org. Please be sure to use the search link provided here, due to a new search system and disregard any previous search links that you may have bookmarked or cached. In the search feature all of the animals with GE-EPDs are identified by the “Beefmaster Genomics” logo, which will display on their pedigree.

We understand with GE-EPDs being new to the Beefmaster breed there will be questions. The most basic point to understanding GE-EPDs is that the accuracy values for young animals are greatly enhanced. Just because an animal has been genotyped and has GE-EPDs does not mean its EPDs are “better”, it means those animals EPDs are more accurate. Increasing the accuracies of EPDs leads to much faster genetic improvement and more buyer confidence. This improved accuracy is why discriminating buyers are demanding GE-EPDs.

Secondly, in this GE-EPD evaluation the ONLY animals included are the ones that have been HD genotyped. This first GE-EPD evaluation is composed of 545 HD genotyped animals. There are some HD genotyped animals that were not included in this first evaluation, for reasons beyond Beefmaster Breeders United’s (BBU) control. BBU is working with its genomic vendors to include ALL genotyped animals in the next available genetic evaluation.

If a breeder wants to have GE-EPDs calculated on an animal the breeder must submit at a minimum: birth weight and weaning weight, according to the Weights and Measures program guidelines, in addition to the animal being genotyped. BBU recommends that all animals be HD genotyped, however in the near future BBU will accept and include LD genotyped animals. For more information about Beefmaster GE-EPDs, please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or info@beefmasters.org.

Click here to download the Beefmaster GE-EPD Evaluation: June 6, 2016

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Beefmaster Releases Genomic-Enhanced EPDs

SAN ANTONIO (June 6, 2016) – Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) has released the breed’s first-ever genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs) evaluation. GE-EPDs utilize genomic test results in addition to pedigree, performance and progeny data for increased reliability of an animal’s EPD. GE-EPDs are the most effective genetic selection tool developed to date. The ability to include DNA derived information in combination with traditional performance EPDs has led to greater genetic improvements at a faster pace, in other species and in other cattle breeds. GE-EPDs will no doubt have the same impact on the Beefmaster breed.

Development of Beefmaster GE-EPDs has been in progress at BBU since 2009, as a project that was envisioned by the Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation (B.E.E.F.). This project helped to build a diverse panel of Beefmaster genetics to be the foundation genetics for the calculation of the GE-EPDs.

“B.E.E.F. and its leadership is to be commended for their vision, dedication and tenacity for taking on this project several years ago and seeing it to fruition,” says BBU Executive Vice President Bill Pendergrass. “Were it not for the foresightedness of B.E.E.F.’s leadership and the generosity of breeders who have donated to B.E.E.F. and its research efforts, the Beefmaster breed would have fallen way behind our competition in the genomics arena.”

As part of the project, BBU began asking breeders to HD genotype animals in June 2015. What began as a slow measured drumbeat of interest from a small group of breeders, blossomed into a very impressive display of the Beefmaster breed’s most dominant animals being represented in the Beefmaster GE-EPD database. The accuracy of Beefmaster genetic selection tools is about to increase dramatically.

The Beefmaster GE-EPDs evaluation is available for download at beefmasters.org/genomics. GE-EPDs for a specific animal can be found by searching the animal name or registration number through the animal search function at www.beefmasters.org. When using the online search feature, the animals with GE-EPDs are identified by the “Beefmaster Genomics” logo on their pedigree.

For more information about Beefmaster Breeders United and its GE-EPDs please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org.

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Trichomoniasis – The Silent Infection

By Wesley Hood DVM, Pro-Vet of Siloam Springs, Ark.

Much has been said over the past few years about Trichomoniasis or “Trich” as it is commonly referred to. However, there is still confusion and mystery surrounding exactly what it is and more importantly what it can do to decimate your herd. In the next few minutes of reading, hopefully those questions can be cleared up in order to help protect your herd from this silent infection.

Trichomoniasis is a disease caused by the protozoal organism Tritrichomonas foetus. The organism lives in the preputial folds of the male and around the cervical folds of females. It is considered a sexually transmitted disease, as bulls contract the infection from infected cows during breeding or vice versa. The organism is virtually undetectable in bovine semen evaluations, causes no harm to the fertility of the bull and has no obvious signs of infection in cows or bulls. Cows that contract the infection can clear the organism in about five months, however most bulls are considered permanently infected and cannot be salvaged. There is a very small percentage of bulls under three years of age that may clear the infection after several months.

The disease process occurs as the organism infects the lining of the reproductive tract of the female and causes early embryonic death, mild uterine infections and sometimes early abortion of fetuses, typically in the first trimester. The bull does not suffer from infertility and is mainly an asymptomatic carrier of the organism. The overlying problem is the organism does not cause any visible illness in the affected animals and abortions occur early in pregnancy and are typically not observable.

The first sign of an infected herd starts with repeated heat cycles of females that should be already bred. A large number of females showing heat cycles late in the breeding season is a very common finding, as well as females that have been serviced early in the season rebreeding late in the season with no heats in between. The most confounding issue is by the time a problem is detected, it is normally too late to stop the repercussions.

The effects of Trichomoniasis can be crippling to a cow herd in conception rates. In herds with a defined calving season, conception rates can be decreased by up to 50% for that season. In herds that calve year round the effect can be seen as a high percentage of cattle calving every 18 months instead of every 12 months. Losing half a calf crop is obviously a financially crippling event. Not to mention the calves that do survive will typically be born much later in the calving season, decreasing weaning weights and subsequent rebreeding rates.

As detecting the disease is so difficult, focus must be taken on prevention of infection instead of treating an outbreak. There has been a large push by states in recent years to prevent the spread of this disease.  Almost all states have some type of Trichomoniasis testing protocols for both in state and out of state bull sales, both private treaty and auction. There are a few rules that are advisable when dealing with this disease. First and foremost is that ANY bull you use must be verified as a virgin bull with no breeding history or must be tested for Trichomoniasis prior to use in your herd. There are trusted individuals that sell many bulls private treaty that can be verified as virgin bulls. However, if there is any question, have the bull tested by your veterinarian BEFORE placing with cows. Testing involves scraping the inside of the preputial folds and sending either a culture or PCR test to a laboratory for analysis. A single PCR test is satisfactory for most state requirements and is required by most states to travel across state lines if the bull is over 12 months of age.

Prevention of the disease also involves screening any cows that are purchased out of herd.  Unfortunately, testing of cows is not as efficient or accurate. Therefore the easiest way of prevention is to buy cows or heifers that are bred greater than four months, verified virgin open heifers or pairs that have not been exposed back to a bull. The chances of Trichomoniasis being present in these groups is extremely small.

One of the main culprits of transmission is one that is hard to control. It has been said that good fences make good neighbors and this is extremely accurate in Trichomoniasis prevention. Some of the worst cases that have been seen involve the “traveling animal” whether male or female. If a neighbor’s farm is infected with Trichomoniasis and one of their animals is allowed to breed with one of yours, the results can be disastrous. It is imperative that you maintain strict biosecurity levels in your breeding herd and prevent introduction of this disease.

In the event your herd does become infected, there are options for control. The first is all natural service bulls will most likely have to be sold. There is a chance some bulls will escape infection, but it will require three negative tests over a period of a few months to insure that. All cows must be held from breeding for a minimum of five months in order to clear the infection naturally. There is also a vaccine available that is somewhat effective in decreasing embryonic losses and is typically used in trying to clear already infected herds. Above all, please discuss with your local veterinarian if you suspect Trichomoniasis in your herd. Early detection is the key to keeping the economic losses manageable.

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B.E.E.F. Scholarship Countdown

Remember when you were in school and the month of May signaled summer was just around the corner? The teachers were trying to teach their final lesson plan, dates had been set on the calendar for final exams and the whole school was on the “Countdown”, especially the seniors.

The Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation (B.E.E.F.) is on the count down and waiting in anticipation for the scholarship applications that will be arriving from graduating high school seniors and current college students. The scholarship information has been posted on the BBU website along with all the necessary details. Once the applications are received, they are reviewed by a scholarship committee and finalists are selected. The winners of the scholarships are announced at the JBBA convention banquet in July. B.E.E.F. will issue up to four $1,000 scholarships to be used for the recipient’s fall tuition.

B.E.E.F. feels strongly about investing in the lives of these hard working students as they pursue their education and fulfill their dreams. The Foundation has been giving scholarships to worthy recipients since 2010. So, let the “Countdown” begin to see who will be awarded the scholarships for the Fall 2016 semester.

Click here to download the scholarship application

- Teri Thompson, Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation Director

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Breed Achieves Major Milestone

By Bill Pendergrass

This month marks a milestone. In the month of May Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU), Beefmaster Educational Endowment Foundation (B.E.E.F.) and the entire Beefmaster breed will achieve one of the most significant milestones in the annals of this great breed…the first-ever Beefmaster Genomic-Enhanced Expected Progeny Differences (GE-EPDs).

B.E.E.F. and its leadership is to be commended for their vision, dedication and tenacity for taking on this project several years ago and seeing it to fruition. Were it not for the foresightedness of B.E.E.F.’s leadership and the generosity of breeders who have donated to B.E.E.F. and its research efforts, the Beefmaster breed would have fallen way behind our competition in the genomics arena. To refresh your memory, one of B.E.E.F.’s primary stated goals is the implementation of GE-EPDs for the benefit of the Beefmaster breed.

BBU began asking breeders to HD Genotype animals in June 2015. What began as a slow measured drumbeat of interest from a small group of breeders has blossomed into a very impressive display of the Beefmaster breeds’ most dominant animals being represented in our GE-EPD database. The accuracy of Beefmaster genetic selection tools is about to increase dramatically.

Right about now, many BBU members are asking “what is a GE-EPD and why should I care”? A Genomic-Enhanced EPD is the product of including detailed, DNA information (collected from the HD Genotypes) that greatly improve the accuracy of an animal’s EPDs. This is very important in the case of young, non-parent animals.

A great example of this is yearling and coming two-year-old bulls. Accuracy for production EPDs of these animals will be very low (usually in the .10 range or less) because no progeny have been born and there are no weights to evaluate. The significance of GE-EPD’s is that those low accuracy values can be greatly improved (up to the .25-.3 range). That is roughly the equivalent of having eight progeny records submitted. In the case of birth weight (BW) EPDs, this is a game changer. Now your bull buyers can select bulls with greater confidence that birth weights on future calf crops will be acceptable.

It is important to note that just because you HD Genotype an animal, it will not improve their EPDs. Again, GE-EPDs greatly increase the accuracy of their EPDs. In effect, this takes a lot of guess work out of your mating decisions. This, in turn, leads to satisfied customers who gain greater confidence in Beefmasters. Additional traits are being added to the GE-EPD list almost daily and the future of genetic selection is being driven by genomics.

You will be able to tell if an animal has GE-EPDs by the special “Beefmasters Genomics +” logo that will appear on the animal’s registration certificate and on the pedigree in the BBU search function on the website. For those breeders who are HD Genotyping, animals with the Beefmaster Genomics + logo represent the most dedicated, ardent performance breeders. It will be truly exciting to see how these breeders advance their herds and the entire breed in the future, by using genomics.

Buyers of animals with the Beefmasters Genomics + logo are able to take advantage of the bred in accuracies for those traits and as a result make better genetic and management decisions. Genomics are totally reshaping the beef industry.

For those breeders who are heavily involved in the International market, GE-EPDs give you the most powerful marketing tool ever developed. At the recent International Beefmaster Federation meeting in Houston, the main topic of discussion in regards to genetics was the development of GE-EPDs. Only BBU and the South African Beefmaster Association have GE-EPDs, but our friends in the Mexican Beefmaster Association realize how potent Genomics are and are working toward developing GE-EPDs as well. Mexico has recently adopted new policies in regards to parentage verification and genetic evaluations. U.S. Beefmasters with GE-EPDs will add a whole new level of genetic information to their genetic evaluations as they are included, making Beefmasters more valuable everywhere.

B.E.E.F., who was instrumental in funding the efforts that have led to GE-EPDs for the Beefmaster breed, is now taking the next steps to fund research projects that will lead to even greater genetic selection technologies for Beefmasters. As an example, there is growing evidence that Beefmasters are among the most feed efficient cattle in the United States. Data collected from Growsafe and Kalen gate systems from across the country point to Beefmasters as being consistently able to excel in intake and Residual Feed Intake measurements, while performing very well for weight gain.

Given that feed is the largest input in the beef industry and Beefmasters are showing impressive conversion rates, it only makes sense that we fund further research to develop selection tools for the entire breed to capitalize on. B.E.E.F. is the mechanism to make this happen. EPD development for these traits is occurring as we speak. If we can back the power of genomics into this scenario, Beefmasters would have one of the most powerful selection tools yet.

Perhaps even more intriguing than feed conversion, is the theory that Residual Feed Intake (as calculated by Growsafe systems) is indeed a maternal trait. If that is true, Beefmasters could position ourselves as the Maternal and Efficiency breed for every crossbreeding system. Having said that, it will take money to fund research projects to prove these theories.

B.E.E.F. is ramping up to create an endowment fund to tackle these very important projects head on. Face it, our competition has been funding research projects through our Universities for years. Their research has literally been used as a training tool and educational program for the commercial cattlemen of this nation for the past 25 years. The entire U.S. beef industry has been educated on performance and carcass topics on research funded by breed associations we compete with every day. Don’t you think it is time for Beefmasters to fund projects that will show our strengths and how we can positively impact the bottom line of producers everywhere?

In the coming months, you will be hearing much more about B.E.E.F. and their endowment campaign. With the first success of GE-EPDs, B.E.E.F. stands ready to propel Beefmasters into the future and be the crucial funding mechanism to anchor Beefmaster friendly research around. This will ultimately lead to more market share for our bulls and greatly increase the value of registered Beefmaster females. Keep this in mind when you are considering how much to contribute to the B.E.E.F. endowment fund. Your future is at stake.

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