ROCKY VIEW COUNTY, AB – The Government of Canada through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) has invested $1 million to increase adoption of genomic technologies in Canada’s cattle sector and Canada’s Angus breeders will benefit. The financial investment will enable the Canadian Beef Breeds Council to demonstrate to producers the use and value of improving beef herds through genotyping. The project will make genomic testing available for the various Canadian beef breeds at a reduced cost, increasing adoption by producers. Determining the right genetic mix in their herds will allow Canadian Angus producers to increase their return on investment, while accurately predicting traits that benefit consumers and the environment.
As of April 1, the Canadian Angus Association will offer its members the Zoetis i50K genomic test which includes SNP parentage verification and a prediction of genetic merit for numerous traits at a reduced rate of $40 per test.
Genomic information from the Zoetis i50K test is incorporated into animals’ Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) to calculate more accurate EPDs for them. This is typically valuable on younger animals that have low accuracy EPDs. EPDs are expressions of the relative genetic merit of beef cattle for various traits. EPDs are used to compare the predicted progeny performance between two bulls (or females) within a breed, regardless of age or herd location.
“The Canadian Angus Association is thrilled with how our members benefit from this funding,” says Kajal Devani, Director of Breed Development. “Genomic marker panels are used to increase the accuracies for EPDs on animals with little performance data. We are grateful to have government support to offer our members increased access to tools that can help them to make informed breeding decisions.”
“We are always grateful to have government support towards the adoption of new technology,” adds CEO Rob Smith. “Reducing the rate of the Zoetis i50K test makes the test available to members who could not otherwise afford to test their young animals as well as allowing members to test more of their herd. Increased genetic testing and the resulting genetic improvements will help Canadian Angus Association members maintain or increase their competiveness in both the domestic and international seedstock markets.”
Additionally, the new Growing Forward 2 agreement signed by Ministers and AAFC last month will continue to drive innovation and long-term growth in Canada. Governments have agreed to invest more than $3 billion over five years in innovation, competitiveness and market development. For more information on GF2, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/growingforward2.
The Canadian Angus Association is Canada’s largest purebred beef breed organization, registering more than half of Canada’s purebred beef cattle. The Association represents more than 2,000 members across Canada for the purposes of registering and recording the pedigrees of purebred Angus cattle in the closed HerdBook and promoting the breed across Canada. The member-approved mandate is to maintain breed registry, breed purity and provide services that enhance the growth and position of the Angus breed.