Partnered ARD is working with some select Alberta ranchers to demonstrate the practical use of the biometric identifier DNA
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development is midway through a sire-verification program that uses a DNA verification system from IdentiGen Canada Ltd. to improve the economics of Alberta ranches. This project received funding through the Business Management skills and tools area, part of the federal-provincial-territorial Growing Forward initiative.
In the first phase of its Sire Evaluation Technology Project program, Jim Hansen, livestock business development specialist with Alberta Agriculture, and project lead, partnered with some select Alberta ranchers to demonstrate the practical use of the biometric identifier DNA.
From participating ranches, a DNA sample was collected from bulls and calves to identify parentage, and to determine which individual bulls were proven breeders and which bulls sired the healthiest, most viable calves. In the second phase, production data is being collected and evaluated. This data makes it possible to identify the individual bulls that sired the highest-quality calves in terms of growth performance, grade, yield and other indicators of meat quality.
“Our goal is to help Alberta ranchers become more profitable. Toward that end, DNA is a rancher’s best friend, because it can help them greatly improve their profits by helping them determine which sires are proven producers,” says Hansen. “This technology, when used in a multi-sire breeding situation, will assist ranches in making better genetic selection decisions. We want to assist with tools that help Alberta producers improve their knowledge of the value chain. After all, we produce food.”
“We are always looking for ways to use science in our breeding programs. I’m enthusiastic about the potential of DNA-based traceability systems to help Alberta ranchers continue to raise the best beef in Canada,” says Bill Newton, a veterinarian and director of Canada Gold Beef, whose ranch is located in Fort MacLeod, Alberta.