San Antonio, Texas – Through generous donations from Beefmaster breeders, a herd bull, 22 heifers, semen and embryos have been donated to the Animal Science Program at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. The donated animals and genetics will be used in a research project being conducted at the Walter C. Todd Agriculture Research Center on the Stephen F. Austin State University's campus.

The goal of the project is to evaluate the differences in growth and reproductive performance between Beefmaster, Angus and crossbred cattle. Core objectives of the project include: evaluate differences in growth and carcass performance between calves; evaluate reproductive performance and longevity between females; examine the relationship between reproductive performance and longevity and maternal and reproductive traits from DNA genotyping; examine the relationship between carcass traits and carcass DNA genotype; examine the relationship between temperament scores, exit velocity and serum cortisol concentrations and performance traits; and examine the relationship between temperament scores, exit velocity and serum cortisol concentrations and DNA genotype results.

Dr. Erin Brown, Assistant Professor of Animal Science at SFA stated the heifers have already been bred to Beefmaster and Angus bulls. “We have 20 Beefmaster heifers that have been bred to Fusion and Objective,” Brown said. “We also have 25 Angus cows that have been split into two groups. One group was bred to Smooth Cavalier, Bullet Proof and Fusion. The other group was bred to Angus bulls. We also have a set of commercial heifers that were bred to Fusion.”

She also said the project will be ongoing for 3-5 years to collect data on reproductive performance, carcass data, and temperament using exit velocity, chute scores and serum cortisol concentrations.

According to Dr. Tommy Perkins, Executive Vice President of Beefmaster Breeders United, and Brown, the females will be bred to calve in the spring; furthermore, they will be bred beginning in May by artificial insemination (AI) to the top bulls in the Beefmaster and Angus breed. Beefmaster bulls will be used for cleanup of any female that did not settle by AI. Calving ease and docility scores will be collected on the cows as well.

To couple the core objectives, birth and weaning weight will be collected on all calves; calves will be scanned for ultrasound measures of 12th rib and rump fat, ribeye area and percent intramuscular fat. Calves will be back grounded at the SFA beef farm. Steer and cull heifer calves will be fed at a feed yard with carcass data being collected and reported to SFA upon harvest, according to Drs. Perkins and Brown. In addition, blood samples will be collected and submitted to Igentity for DNA profiling and parent verification. The DNA evaluation will include trait analysis for carcass composition, maternal traits, docility, average daily gain, and feed efficiency. Brown has committed the SFA Beefmaster herd to the BBU Whole Herd Reporting (WHR) Program as well.

Brown said field days will be hosted during the duration of the project and data will be presented at scientific meetings. Although the project is not part of a class curriculum, graduate students will have the opportunity to assist in collecting, interpreting and presenting data. Undergraduate students will play a key role in handling and working the cattle, as well.

The project will be guided by an oversight committee. The committee includes Dr. Perkins, Dr. Brown, Paul Jopling, Jerry Davis, Lonnie Crawford and Steve Emmons.

With the enthusiasm put forth from Beefmaster breeders, the donated cattle will have data collected which will enable the SFA lead scientist to provide a complete research summary to BBU at the end of each year to be reported to the BBU Board. Perkins stated, “BBU would like to the thank all of the breeders for their generous donation and SFA Agriculture for undertaking such an important research project.”

For more information and results, please call the BBU office at 210/732-3132.


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