How to use this opportunity?
Genomic prediction is particularly useful for producers who are not able to predict traits on any of their cattle using a traditional expected progeny difference (EPD) or who have limited access to EPDs for the trait. Examples of this are:
• Commercial producers who don't have access to information from a breed association and want to select replacements from their own herd.
• Cattle missing pedigree information.
If your replacement bulls are crossbred or unregistered, the genomic prediction results will assist you in making a decision on which bulls to keep or decide which bulls and cows you could breed together to get the traits you desire.
For commercial producers who are buying purebred bulls where genetic evaluation is already done, genomic prediction provides a tool to evaluate and select replacement heifers for the traits you want most.
For purebred producers, the DNA marker data generated by this genomic prediction trial project could also be used by your breed association to improve accuracy of your traditional EPD as the DNA marker genotype can add additional information to the genetic evaluation.
Research has shown that the accuracy of genomic prediction improves when animals being tested are closely related to the animals used to create the genomic prediction equations. The reference population used in this trial genomic prediction are from Canadian beef cattle and the genomic prediction equations are created for Canadian beef producers.
Your animal's genetic merit score will also be compared with other Canadian cattle in the reference population and will be ranked as a percentile, which will give you an idea of just how good each animal is when compared with those in the database. Detailed interpretation of your prediction results will be provided to you in your genomic prediction report. These results will be presented graphically to help the interpretation.
Genetic improvement in a herd is cumulative and sometimes progress is slow, therefore the best approach is to continuously select for the traits you desire over many breeding seasons. As some traits under selection are not favorably correlated, a multiple trait selection index should be used to maximize profitability. We will be providing multiple trait selection indexes upon request for:
• Heifer profitability index;
The genomic prediction trial project can also predict breed composition (gBC) and retained hybrid vigor (gRH) of your animals based on DNA markers without pedigree information. As commercial producers, you may want to use the predicted genomic breed compositions to optimize your herd composition in order to maximize hybrid vigor or heterosis.