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Genetic Training at King Ranch Institute
South Dakota Ag Connection - 04/17/2017

Using genetic technology to improve cattle herds with an improved payday captivates cattle producers. Those willing to learn will have a unique opportunity to acquire the latest in this specialized technology via a program offered in Rapid City by the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management in May.

Sessions on "Application of Advanced Genetic Technology in Beef Cattle" will be offered May 11-12 at the Rushmore Inn and Suites in Rapid City. The South Dakota State University West River Ag Center is co-hosting the lectureships.

"This is exactly the information that many producers are looking for," Kristi Cammack, director of the West River Ag Center in Rapid City said. "We hear many of our producers are beginning or wanting to use genetic technology to improve their herds. Some question if they are using it correctly; some feel it is information overload."

As the technology develops, those in the industry have gone from reluctance to acceptance. Many have observed others who are using it and are eager to implement the practices. Keeping up with genetic selection and evaluation innovations can be challenging. Cammack sees two groups of cattle people who will learn from the sessions. There are the early adopters who have been trying the technology and the second group are those who are interested but don't know where to start.

The sessions are meant to strengthen the understanding of the genetic principles and help attendees build on the information. Faculty contracted by the King Institute will share how to apply advanced genetic technologies in the real world of seedstock and commercial cattle production.

Instructors will be Bob Weaber, Ph.D., Extension Specialist Animal Sciences and Industry from Kansas State University and Matt Spangler, Ph.D., Beef Genetics Extension Specialist in the Animal Science Department, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Along with the basics, they will look at the application of advanced genetic tools including genomically enhanced Expected Progeny Differences and marker assisted management in genetic advancement.

Cammack expects that the sessions will appeal to both commercial and seed stock producers from across the state, region, and throughout the country. Many in the cattle industry know and respect the King Ranch and the expertise provided by SDSU and its staff.

Information will focus on developing breeding objectives for the herd and determining the economics relative for each operation as that may vary within a region. Owners want to know what will work for them at their location, taking into consideration different feedstuffs and different markets.

The tools have advanced so they are producer friendly. Cammack said the speakers will share knowledge that producers can apply and use in their operation, including an applied understanding of how to use genomic selection tools. Cattle producers will get a lot out of the 1 1/2-day program. Learning will come from Interactive Sire Selection Scenarios where attendees will break out into groups and practice how to pick sires. "We hope the result is that cattle producers will learn to use advanced genetics. Applying these tools, in the correct way, will pay off with improved genetics. Producers will find it advancing herd genetics really pays it forward," Cammack said.

Contact Cammack at 605-394-2236, or email. View the agenda and make a reservation online.

Reservations for rooms: Rushmore Inn and Suites, 605.646.4690 (Group Rate: $79/night for reservations made by April 18; Event name: "Beef Cattle").

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