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By Ryan McGeeney U of A System Division of AgricultureAug. 25, 2017
(361 words)(Download this story in MS Word here.)
MONTICELLO, Ark. – Researchers with the University of Arkansas System Division of
Agriculture are working to identify genetic markers that can help cattle producers
identify the best bang for their buck when choosing breeds and budgeting for feed.
Kelly Bryant, Director of the Division of Agriculture’s Southeast Research and Extension
Center, and several members of his research team and staff from Beefmaster Breeders
United are monitoring offspring from the SEREC herd of Beefmaster heritage lines in
an effort to determine if feed conversion efficiency is an inheritable trait.
“From the time they’re weaned until the time they’re either ready for slaughter or
ready to deliver a calf, they’re in a growth stage,” Bryant said. “It’s all done through
either grass or grain — some can just gain more weight on less feed than others. It
makes it cheaper. Gain is what we’re after, and if we can do it on less feed, then
we’ve got less money in them.”
If specific genetic markers tied to that higher efficiency can be identified and isolated,
and are found to be inheritable, growers could potentially improve the conversion
efficiency of entire herds over time by introducing Beefmaster genetics into their
On Aug. 5, Bryant and his research staff took possession of 31 heifers that had spent
the previous 60 days at a Grow Safe facility in Texas.
“The Grow Safe systems tracks animal feed intake and weight gain, allowing us to measure
feed conversion efficiency for each animal,” Bryant said. “With this information we
hope to determine if feed efficiency is inheritable.”
The research project, which is expected to last at least three to five years, is being
funded in part by Beefmaster Breeders United, a trade association of cattle producers
who both maintain purebred Beefmaster cows and use the cattle for commercial crossbreeding,
Bryant said cows in the herd maintained at SEREC typically calve in September or October.
Females are typically bred no earlier than 15 months old, calving when they are about
two years old, and generally calve once a year after that.
To learn about cattle production in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension
Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A System Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com