Olds College, the University of Alberta and their industry partners have received $945,000 for a three-year, $945,000 project entitled “Use of Genomic Tools to Improve Feed Efficiency in Purebred Hereford Cattle” from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) under the new College-University Idea to Innovation program.
This will mark the start of a new, and in some cases renewed, collaboration between Olds College, the University of Alberta, Livestock Gentec, ARD, Canadian Hereford Association and the Integrated Beef Research Station (Cattleland). The project will allow the livestock industry to reap the benefits of the scientific research involving residual feed intake (RFI). It will characterize RFI in purebred Hereford bulls, produce an RFI expected progeny difference (EPD) using both phenotypic and molecular information, and use genotypes to assist in the validation of an existing RFI single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) panel produced by Livestock Gentec.
This project will provide the means of identifying more efficient sires and improve the profit margin and competitiveness for many Canadian beef cattle producers. “These investments provide Olds School of Agriculture, Olds College Farm and our students with access to the people, resources and tools they need to be at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Tanya McDonald, dean, Olds College School of Agriculture.
“Our students will benefit through active participation in the data collection and from the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with the University of Alberta and our industry partners,” she adds. “The ultimate goal is to create sustainable partnerships that will sharpen our innovative edge and have a positive impact on our country and industry.”