Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ontario Angus Field Day

I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the Ontario Angus Field day held on Sunday, July 17. Hosted graciously at the beautiful Cairnlee Acres by Victor and Yvonne Richardson, the field day was blessed with sunshine, warm weather and about 40 participating breeders.

Sandy Reid from RK Animal Supply demonstrated how he recommends tattooing our animals. Sandy owns and tattoos about 100 head of his own every season and had some good pointers from lessons learnt, including the suggestion to keep a sheaf of paper nearby and test your tattoo on it first. This will save you from tattooing all your calves with your herd letters in the wrong order, or with last year’s letter by mistake. I shared with our members that our new breeder handbook, which is available on our website, has very comprehensive step-by-step instructions for tattooing, plus our rules and regulations in regards to tattooing. We are also working on a video that will be available on YouTube and our website later this summer. Several members expressed that legible tattoos are a concern at sales and shows and breeder education is certainly appreciated.

Scott Bothwell from Beef Improvement Ontario demonstrated ultrasound scanning on a heifer. As I mentioned in my presentation, because we do not receive kill floor carcass information, we use ultrasound scan data exclusively to calculate carcass EPDs. We encourage breeders who select based on carcass traits to ultrasound scan their animals. Scott demonstrated the correct way to scan an animal and the challenges a technician faces to capture accurate images.

I presented an explanation of what EPDs are, how they are calculated and how they are best used. Members that attended asked some very good questions and it is evident to me, as one breeder said, that the way in which people think about the performance program is changing. Breeders are recognizing the value and the necessity of the program.

I would like to thank Ontario Angus for the opportunity to meet so many breeders and talk to them about EPDs. It gives me an idea of the information members are looking for and also about what new developments would excite our members.

Posted by Kajal Devani