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Herd Evaluation is More Than Just Skin Deep

Linda Seaton
| Feb 03, 2014

more than skin deepWho can resist those big brown eyes and long dark lashes? Yes, they contribute to a photogenic countenance, but they don’t say much about the animal’s health and productivity, or its meat or milk quality. To make more informed breeding decisions, cattle and sheep evaluation has gone genomic.

That’s where Illumina and Zoetis have formed a unique partnership. An Illumina Certified Service Provider (CSPro), Zoetis genetic analysis products leverage Illumina genotyping platforms, providing accurate genetic analyses of herd animals. Zoetis is leading the way in assisting livestock producers by performing genetic merit testing of their animals and using that information to understand genetic variation within their beef, dairy, and sheep herds.

These products can analyze tens of thousands of SNP markers at one time. Processing is performed in a high-throughput laboratory, with Zoetis analyzing the data to determine genetic variation. Armed with that information, Zoetis helps producers understand how the data can help them make the right investment, as well as define the best ways to apply genomic technologies. Decisions such as which herd bull to purchase or how to plan heifer inventory and allocate reproductive technologies.

When it comes to herd management decisions, livestock producers are looking beyond phenotypic characteristics and towards genomics to help them make the right call.