A large portion of our industry has been forced to sit idly by while a small subset of beef producers take advantage of ever increasing improvements in genetic selection tools. Recent advances have provided seedstock producers with a whole host of EPDs, indexes, and DNA technologies that allow them to make more rapid change than ever before. While this brings some unsettled waters to navigate, we all know we have to continue to up our game if we are going to compete with other animal protein sources that have huge biological and efficiency advantages.
True, commercial cow/calf operators are beneficiaries of this progress when they make savvy bull decisions. But still, that commercial rancher is left without a meaningful metric to make selection decisions on replacement females. At the ground level, producers are using much the same approach that has been used for generations to populate and grow their cow herd. We are surrounded by major technological advancements, from our phone to our tractor, and yet heifer selection is often left to the strengths and weaknesses of the eyeball test.
Multiple organizations have stepped in to try and offset this commercial disadvantage. Firms have developed various DNA tests that give an added glimpse to the genetic prowess of females. This has been a huge step forward, however, this glimpse can be a bit too superficial and vague and what is more leaves out two major components of genetic awareness – pedigree knowledge and individual performance.
The American Simmental Association has stepped in to help fill the void in true awareness for the progressive minded, future-focused, commercial operator. ASA’s Total Herd Enrollment – Commercial Option (THE-CM) is designed specifically for serious commercial beef operations. The program is open to any and all breed types and composites. Enrollment in this option entitles the producer to receive EPDs and indexes on their females to better select (and cull) heifers based on Stayability, API, and any EPD of their choosing. These tools provide much greater awareness of bull needs going forward. On top of this, producers have access at no additional charge to our Active Herd database managing software – eliminating the need to buy another data management software. And all this for only $500/year, regardless of herd size. There is a learning curve associated with THE-CM and it does require a level of data and genetic awareness that many operations haven’t tracked before, but the return on the investment of time and novel thinking can empower commercial farms and ranches in a manner never offered in our beef industry. Finally, you have the power of knowledge as opposed to relying on the interpretations of others.
Combine THE-CM with our current Cow Herd DNA Roundup (CHR) and have unsurpassed genetic insight that even major seedstock producers would be envious of. Check out the CHR project at simmental.org/chr for the lowest DNA prices ever seen in our industry for 50K DNA chips.
Your ultimate goal is to ensure that your ranch remains profitable for your kids and your grandkids. The THE-CM and CHR allow you to position future generations of your family for the expectations and the demands of tomorrow’s beef industry. You’ve patiently waited your turn. It is time. Contact [email protected] or [email protected] if you’d like to discuss how THE-CM can move you forward.