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AGA to study carcass data

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Published on Feb. 8, 2020

The American Gelbvieh Association (AGA) is pleased to announce the Carcass Data Collection Project as its latest breed improvement endeavor. The Carcass Data Collection Project is a joint effort of the AGA and American Gelbvieh Foundation (AGF) and is designed for AGA members and their customers.

            The focus of this project is to provide vital genetic information to re-charge the carcass database and enhance the predictability of current selection tools.

            For decades, United States consumers have continually recognized the value of superior beef products. Such recognition has driven the growing demand of a superior beef eating experience on a national and global scale. U.S. cattle producers and industry affiliates have responded to demand by placing an emphasis on improving carcass merit and rewarding high quality carcasses with price premiums.

            The AGA is committed to providing its membership with powerful and reliable tools for genetic improvement. Expected progeny differences (EPDs) related to carcass traits tend to have lower accuracies due to lack of carcass data submitted on Gelbvieh and Balancer-sired progeny. 

            Lower EPD accuracy limits the rate of genetic progress for carcass traits. Even though carcass traits are highly heritable, the prediction power of carcass EPDs is currently limited by these lower accuracy values. 

            Lack of carcass records also limits the power of genomic marker effects. Genomics and ultrasound records can help improve the accuracy of carcass EPDs, but even combined cannot provide high accuracy carcass EPDs without actual carcass data on progeny.

            The increasing significance and subsequent recognition of carcass value amongst beef industry segments has led to the AGA and AGF’s investment in launching the Carcass Data Collection Project. 

            The Carcass Data Collection Project is designed to deliver AGA members and their customers the opportunity to submit carcass data on Gelbvieh and Balancer®-influenced genetics and provides an avenue for harvest data on terminal cattle to be paired with genotypes and incorporated into the genetic evaluation. 

            Such phenotypic and genotypic data will provide Gelbvieh breeders with tools to make their management decisions more efficient and accurate. Ultimately, the Carcass Data Collection Project aims to increase the carcass record database and enhance the predicting power of genomic panels.

            Program eligibility is structured to ensure high-quality data is collected throughout the project. Eligible cattle must be sired by a bull registered with the AGA and have a minimum breed composition of 25 percent Gelbvieh and dams must be identifiable for age and breed composition. 

            All calves must be tagged with an EID, have a DNA tissue sample collected, and must conform to contemporary grouping guidelines. Participants will also need to have access to harvest data records.

            Under the Carcass Data Collection Project, the AGA, with the support of Neogen, will cover the cost of genotyping all eligible cattle in the project. Genotypes are used to improve the genomic panels’ ability to predict carcass traits as well as sire-verify the participating cattle in the project. 

            Sire-verification is a very valuable yet underutilized tool for commercial cattle producers to rank bulls used in multi-sire pastures. Participants in this project will be able to capitalize on these and more benefits of genomic technologies without incurring the cost.

            As the modern beef industry continues to evolve, so do the expectations of commercial cattle producers; the AGA is dedicated to delivering the industry with the genetics that are smart, reliable, and profitable from the ranch to the rail. 

            The American Gelbvieh Association is a progressive beef cattle breed association representing 1,000 members and approximately 40,000 cows assessed annually in a performance-oriented total herd reporting system.

            For more information on participating in the Carcass Data Collection Project visit or contact Will Fiske, AGA breed growth specialist at 303-465-2333 or

            This article is courtesy of the American Gelbvieh Association. Please send comments to

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