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U Tennessee beef cattle selection.jpg Photo by T. Johnson, courtesy UTIA.
Researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have been awarded a $156,000 grant to examine value-added opportunities for marketing cattle using genetic information at the seedstock, cow/calf and stocker producer stages of the beef supply chain.

UTIA researchers explore value-added marketing opportunities

University of Tennessee project to link flow of cattle genetic information along supply chain.

A team of researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) has been awarded a $156,000 grant to examine value-added opportunities for marketing cattle using genetic information at the seedstock, cow/calf and stocker producer stages of the beef supply chain.

In an announcement, UTIA said the project links the flow of cattle genetic information along the supply chain, equipping cattle producers with information to help make decisions on which characteristics may be valuable to naturally breed in their calves.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service, researchers will evaluate Tennessee cow/calf producer preferences for bull genomics and physical traits as well as evaluate cow/calf and stocker producer preferences for marketing their cattle to feedlots using newly available genomic testing, UTIA said.

Connecting producer values of genetic information along the production supply chain can improve market efficiency, cattle sustainability and potentially impact producer profitability. Researchers will also examine the value that feedlots place on feeder cattle genetic testing and specific feeder cattle traits.

“A goal of this project is to enhance marketing opportunities for seedstock, cow/calf and stocker producers and provide them with valuable information as they consider which genetic traits to incorporate into their herds,” said project leader Karen DeLong, assistant professor in the UTIA department of agricultural and resource economics. “We hope the information obtained from this grant can be used by producers when making marketing decisions regarding whether to retain ownership of their cattle or sell them at certain stages of the supply chain.”

University of Tennessee Extension will assist producers in understanding the value of their cattle throughout the beef supply chain as well as understanding the value-added possibilities of using newly available genetic testing when marketing bulls and feeder cattle, the announcement said. Recognizing the demand for cattle of specific genetic merit could help producers tailor operational decisions to optimize their cattle marketing.

UTIA noted that the cattle industry in Tennessee generated more than a half-billion dollars in 2017, and this project has the potential to increase profitability and economic opportunities in rural communities with cattle operations not only in Tennessee but also in other cattle-producing states.

The research team is comprised of the following faculty from the UTIA department of agricultural and resource economics: Karen DeLong, Chris Boyer, Andrew Griffith and Kim Jensen.

Project partners include the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Assn., Angus cattle breeding operation Oak Hollow Farms and the midwestern feedlot group Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity Cooperative.

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