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Developers of Beef Industry Aid Win Technology Transfer Award / February 7, 2001 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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C. Jenkins (left) and C. Williams: Link to photo information

 

Developers of Beef Industry Aid Win Technology Transfer Award

By Ben Hardin
February 7, 2001

CLAY CENTER, Neb., Feb. 7—Two U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists have won a technology transfer award for providing the beef industry with a computer model that helps farmers and ranchers use up-to-date research information to match feed and genetic resources to best meet market demands.

Thomas G. Jenkins and Charles B. Williams, both Agricultural Research Service (ARS) animal scientists at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in Clay Center, Neb., will be among eight teams and individuals engaged in technology transfer that ARS will honor Feb. 7 at a 1 p.m. ceremony at the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland.

The computer model that Jenkins and Williams developed is called DECI, for Decision Evaluator for the Cattle Industry. User-friendly, it explores “what if” management scenarios to help producers avoid costly mistakes or missed opportunities that otherwise might go unrecognized for years. DECI ties several databases together in a way that lets producers use large amounts of research information without being overburdened by it. The model is designed to evolve with the newest research findings.

DECI was designed to continuously update research information related to productivity measurements, weights and carcass composition, and conception, calving and weaning rates.

The latest DECI version, released in November 2000, includes considerations of feedlot performance and carcass characteristics of beef cattle. Such aspects of the model could eventually help producers determine potential profits for producing cattle marketed under a premium pricing system based on qualities such as meat leanness, rather than carcass weight.

From the beginning stages of DECI development, the scientists have worked closely with beef producers and officials of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to understand how they might make the model most useful. And the researchers have given presentations on the model’s use at conventions, universities and professional meetings.

More than a thousand copies of the DECI have been distributed to requesting individuals and organizations. The software can be used by representatives of the beef industry ranging from individual producers to integrated agricultural firms, from individual consultants to large consulting firms, and by financial institutions. Professors teaching beef production at 12 universities are using the software in classrooms and laboratories.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.

Scientific contact: Thomas G. Jenkins and Charles B. Williams, ARS Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Neb.; phone (402) 762-4247, fax (701) 762-4155, jenkins@email.marc.usda.gov and williams@email.marc.usda.gov.

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