Managing Genetic Conditions in Breeding Angus Cattle: Why Analysis of Abnormalities is a Must

Blog | April 5th, 2019

When there is a problem with the DNA of cattle, it can lead to various genetic conditions. Even though Angus is a fairly healthy breed of cattle, these conditions can occur and can weaken or otherwise negatively affect a cattle farmer’s efforts and profits. If it happens too often, though, it can destroy the herd. For this reason, the cattle farmer must perform an ongoing analysis of any abnormalities that happen in his or her Angus males and females.

There Are Numerous Genetic Conditions That Can Occur

Over the years, there has been over 400 genetic conditions identified that can occur in Angus and other cattle breeds. About one fourth of these happen due to a single gene mutating. When the right DNA testing is performed periodically, Angus cattle farmers can manage these issues successfully.

Testing Is Crucial to Managing Genetic Conditions

Prior to performing DNA tests, the farmers should turn to progeny testing first. Once it is confirmed as a true abnormality, the affected animal and its relatives should be culled from the herd and not used for breeding purposes in order to safeguard the rest of the herd and any calves that will come from it. Only Angus animals with superior genetics should breed together to produce offspring.

Technological Innovations Allows Angus Cattle Farmers to Identify the Carriers of Genetic Abnormalities

Innovations in gene testing help Angus farmers identify those cattle that are carriers of genetic conditions. Thanks to these innovations, there is less of a risk of mutations spreading through generations of the Angus.

It Takes Vigilance to Identify Genetic Conditions in Angus

Certain genetic conditions are easy to spot with the naked eye. Physical deformities are one example of this. Too many calves dying in a year is another sign that something is wrong. Photos and other records should be kept and shared with vets and breeding authorities along with the testing that we mentioned earlier to identify and track the problems in the breed. Once identified, Angus farmers can take the appropriate action to manage the genetic conditions.

Things to Consider While Managing Genetic Conditions

• Local regulations for Angus breeding
• The full impact of the genetic issue on the herd
• The number of animals that have the genetic condition
• Price of ongoing testing
• Research is necessary for all animals coming into the herd from outside sources

For further guidance on managing genetic conditions when breeding Angus cattle, consult with Southfork Angus. We breed and sell top-quality Angus seedstock from our breeding facility here in the Mornington Peninsula.

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