Thursday, April 14, 2011

Information Seminars in Ontario and Quebec

I had the most rewarding opportunity to spend some time in Ontario and Quebec last week, participating in some information seminars. I began at the Carson’s Sale Arena in Listowel where I had the opportunity to speak to some people before the sale. We discussed how EPDs are calculated and how they should be used in the industry for genetic improvement towards more successful operations. I’d like to thank Dunford Royal Cattle Company for allowing me this time to connect with the breeders in that area before their sale. The sale itself was a wonderful experience for me. I got to see the end result of all the work that we do in the office including: registering these animals, recording their performance information, providing pedigree extracts for the sales catalogues. I spent a day with John and Pat Duivenvoorden touring breeders around the Innisfil area the previous day and would like to thank them for their hospitality.

I travelled to Guelph next and visited with BIO. We discussed ways in which we could work together so that breeders in Ontario and Quebec that use both the evaluation program from BIO and participate on the Canadian Angus Performance Program don’t have to submit their performance data twice over. I invite members in the east to contact me if there is ever an issue with getting performance data back and forth between the two programs.

The afternoon was spent with Dr Steve Miller who graciously toured us through the Elora research facility. Dr Miller is conducting research on feed efficiency, methane production, and tenderness. Because these traits are so difficult and expensive to measure, his aim is to identify genes or markers that account for variation in these traits so that animals with superior genetics for these traits can be easily identified. It was encouraging to see research designed with the producer in mind.

The next information seminars were in Smiths Falls Ontario and Sherbrooke Quebec where I was joined by Paul Mastine from Triara Genetics who spoke about implementing new technology for a more profitable operation, and by Phil Trowbridge from Trowbridge Farms New York who spoke about marketing our product. Both seminars explored the concept of branding and marketing a product that has a story and your name behind it. We also discussed EPDs at length, putting to rest some old misconceptions about EPDs. I believe that at the end of the seminars the 100 or so breeders and commercial producers that attended had a better understanding of how EPDs are calculated and how they should be used towards specific goals of genetic improvement. Breeders commented at how they would be more comfortable marketing their genetics now that they understood how the EPDs describe their genetics.

I concluded my trip with a visit to our Canadian Angus Rancher Endorsed participant Angus Zone in Saint Agapit, Quebec. Guy D’Anjou buys Canadian Angus Rancher Endorsed tagged animals for his feed lots which supply his bustling meat shop and restaurant. His enthusiasm for the Angus breed and his pride in the product that he sells was infectious.

I would like to thank the people who hosted me as I travelled through Ontario and Quebec, and those who helped me organize these information seminars. I really appreciate the time that breeders spent traveling to spend the evening discussing these topics with myself, Paul Mastine and Phil Trowbridge. The positive comments that I received about the effort makes me hope that more breeders will take the time to take the EPD 101 workshop which I do online once a month. The next workshop is scheduled for April 15th, 9:00 am MDT and can be accessed by emailing me.

Posted by Kajal Devani