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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IDENTIFICATION AND UTILIZATION OF MECHANISMS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ADAPTATION OF CATTLE TO STRESSORS OF THE SUBTROPICS Title: New Brahman breed improvement program at STARS

Author
item Chase, Chadwick

Submitted to: Brahman Journal
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 10, 2010
Publication Date: December 1, 2010
Citation: Chase, C.C., Jr. 2010. New Brahman breed improvement program at STARS. Brahman Journal. Available: http://brahmanjournal.com/brahman/?p=3269.

Interpretive Summary: A stakeholder meeting at the USDA, ARS, Subtropical Agricultural Research Station (STARS) in Brooksville, Florida identified a research need “to remove the stigma of Brahman cattle in the marketplace.” The group acknowledged that the F1 Brahman is by far the most productive cow throughout the southern U.S. In this regard, it was felt that the most critical research need was to develop and demonstrate the superior genetics of purebred Brahman cattle for the primary role of the production of superior F1 cattle. It was decided that an improvement program for the Brahman would be most beneficial so that genetics developed in this program could be evaluated and tested in industry. The research objectives are to: 1) develop a 500-cow Brahman herd outstanding in the following phenotypic traits: reproduction (age at puberty, breed and calve early and annually), carcass quality (actual and estimated by ultrasound; ribeye area, marbling, tenderness, etc.), and feed efficiency, 2) evaluate animals using phenotypic, genetic, and genomic information, 3) create a database with pedigree and phenotypic information from all participating herds, and 4) disseminate animals with best predicted genetic values from STARS Brahman herd to commercial cattlemen with continued collection of data. The current cow herd at STARS is about 50 registered Brahman cows. During 2010 and for the next few years our plans are to concentrate on building the numbers of STARS Brahman cows towards the goal of 500 (objective 1). We visited (usually in person) and discussed the new project with numerous Brahman breeders in Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. In order to establish a herd of Brahman cattle at STARS that is highly productive based on reproductive efficiency, carcass quality, and feed efficiency, we propose to select reproductively superior cows from different participating Brahman producer herds and to multiply their genetics by embryo transfer. In 2010 for this project, we conducted ET flushes on one Florida ranch and collected 52 embryos from 5 cows. We transferred 43 embryos fresh to recipients and froze 9. At STARS, 3 producers donated 13 cows and we used 7 STARS Brahman cows. From these cows (most collected 3 times) we collected 261 embryos. We transferred 83 of the embryos fresh and froze the remainder. Our pregnancy rate of recipient cows was estimated at 50%, but because we turned bulls out soon after transfer this figure may not be completely accurate. In 2011, we have 16 cows for ET collection from an outside source and would like to have more. We have potentially 300+ recipients available this year.

Technical Abstract: At the USDA, ARS, Subtropical Agricultural Research Station (STARS) in Brooksville, Florida we have initiated a new ambitious research project that many believe will have a positive influence on the Brahman breed. This research was developed from a meeting held at STARS that included past and present President’s and members of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association (FCA), cattlemen, faculty and administrators from the University of Florida, and scientists and administrators from ARS. The consensus from the FCA and cattlemen was that research needed to be conducted “to remove the stigma of Brahman cattle in the marketplace.” The group discussed that the F1 Brahman is by far the most productive cow throughout the southern U.S and her dominance is beginning to be appreciated in traditionally temperate climates as well. In this regard, it was felt that the most critical research need was to develop and demonstrate the superior genetics of purebred Brahman cattle for the primary role of the production of superior F1 cattle. It was decided that an improvement program for the Brahman would be most beneficial so that genetics developed in this program could be evaluated and tested in industry. The main factors that were identified for research were reproductive efficiency, carcass quality, and feed efficiency. The research objectives are to: 1) develop a 500-cow Brahman herd outstanding in the following phenotypic traits: reproduction (age at puberty, breed and calve early and annually), carcass quality (actual and estimated by ultrasound; ribeye area, marbling, tenderness, etc.), and feed efficiency, 2) evaluate animals using phenotypic, genetic, and genomic information, 3) create a database with pedigree and phenotypic information from all participating herds, and 4) disseminate animals with best predicted genetic values from STARS Brahman herd to commercial cattlemen with continued collection of data. The current cow herd at STARS is about 50 registered Brahman cows. During 2010 and for the next few years our plans are to concentrate on building the numbers of STARS Brahman cows towards the goal of 500 (objective 1). We visited (usually in person) with numerous Brahman breeders in Florida (Barthle Brothers Ranch, Doc Partin Ranch, Double C Bar Ranch, Edwards Brahman, G. A. Tucker & Sons, Kempfer Cattle Co., Rocking S Ranch, University of Florida), Louisiana (D Bar Ranch, Louisiana State University), New Mexico (New Mexico State University), and Texas (Barzee Brahmans, J.D. Hudgins, Inc., Kallion Farms, Partin & Partin Heart Bar Ranch, Santa Elena Ranch, Inc., St. Cyr Brahman Farm, Inc., Texas AgriLife Research & Extension Center, Overton, V8 Ranch). We discussed the new project with these and other Brahman breeders as well. In order to establish a herd of Brahman cattle at STARS that is highly productive based on reproductive efficiency, carcass quality, and feed efficiency, we propose to select reproductively superior cows from different participating Brahman producer herds and to multiply their genetics by embryo transfer. Producer participation is critical to the success of this research. Since the early emphasis is on reproduction, we need producers to identify their most productive cows (e.g., 7 weaned calves by 10 years of age or early maturity with 3 consecutive weaned calves). Their genetics could then be made available to STARS by a number of avenues including: donation of a cow near the end of active production cycle (after ET flushing, cow could be returned or sold for slaughter and proceeds returned to owner); donation of cow for an entire production year (collect up to 3 ET flushes and return cow to owner); or 1 ET flush early in the production cycle. Although there may be other avenues of getting the genetics to STARS these are the ones that appear most practical. In 2010 for this project, we conducted ET flushes on one Florida ranch and collected 52 embryos from 5 cows. We transferred 43 embryos fresh to recipients and froze 9. At STARS, 3 producers donated 13 cows and we used 7 STARS Brahman cows. From these cows (most collected 3 times) we collected 261 embryos. We transferred 83 of the embryos fresh and froze the remainder. Our pregnancy rate of recipient cows was estimated at 50%, but because we turned bulls out soon after transfer this figure may not be completely accurate. In 2011, we have 16 cows for ET collection from an outside source and would like to have more. We have potentially 300+ recipients available this year. If you would like to participate in this program please feel free to contact us. Chad Chase, Research Animal Scientist and Sam Coleman, Research Leader, USDA, ARS, STARS, 22271 Chinsegut Hill Road, Brooksville, FL 34601 Tel: 352-796-3385 Cooperators: Dr.’s Mauricio Elzo, Dwayne Johnson, Tim Olson, Dept of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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