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Feed Efficiency Now Part of the Igenity® Profile
Now more comprehensive profile provides additional tools for managing profitability

From a single DNA sample, cattle producers can now more accurately gauge feed efficiency of their animals — offering key inside information that can directly affect profitability. Multiple-marker analyses of traits related to feed efficiency are now part of the comprehensive Igenity profile.

"This addition to the comprehensive Igenity profile is just in time for beef producers as inputs rise and margins tighten this fall," says Dr. Stewart Bauck, Executive Director of Strategic Marketing, Igenity. "Efficiency is more important than ever in the cattle industry. Now, producers can use the power of DNA to help evaluate this important trait, helping them select and manage cattle with more confidence."

The Igenity profile now analyzes genetic potential for residual feed intake (RFI) and dry matter intake (DMI), and reports each trait individually. These analyses are in addition to more than a dozen economically important traits beef producers can use to evaluate cattle early in every stage of production.

"The Igenity profile has just become more comprehensive with the addition of these analyses for feed efficiency," Dr. Bauck says. "Producers can be confident in using these analyses this fall, as they have been extensively researched."

Dr. Bauck says by offering analyses for both RFI and DMI, producers can help evaluate how each trait affects the efficiency of the animal at any stage of life.

"These two analyses will help producers identify breeding cattle that will be more efficient as young animals and as older animals, as well as produce efficient progeny, while maintaining an acceptable body condition score," he says. "In addition, feedyard managers can use the profile to help purchase cattle that will be more efficient during the feeding phase."

RFI (also called net feed efficiency) describes how an animal's feed intake differs from its expected feed intake based on its maintenance and growth requirements.1 Low RFI is more desirable than high RFI, since a low-RFI animal will either eat less with the same gains or gain more from the same amount of feed.

DMI defines an animal's genetic potential to consume feed, which is key for predicting feedyard performance or maintenance energy requirements. The actual feed intake will vary with the animal's growth stage.

The feed efficiency analyses in the Igenity profile have been independently researched in the United States and Australia and are third-party-validated. The analyses for RFI and DMI are currently commercially available for Bos indicus influenced cattle only.

"These analyses have been extensively researched and have been demonstrated to be significant for use in Bos indicus influenced cattle in all environments, segments and on multiple continents," Dr. Bauck says.

He adds that this addition to the Igenity profile makes it a more effective tool for producers to use in conjunction with traditional selection and management practices.

"The addition of analyses related to feed efficiency makes the comprehensive Igenity profile more powerful to help producers make better decisions about their cattle and help reach their goals faster," he says. "Producers can get inside information about traits such as quality grade, fertility and now feed efficiency that are essential to profitability in the beef industry — all from a single DNA sample."

Research is under way in Bos taurus influenced cattle and will be available soon. Please check www.Igenity.com for updated information about the availability of RFI and DMI analyses for Bos taurus cattle.

The analyses for RFI and DMI from Igenity are in addition to multiple-marker analyses of economically important traits such as tenderness, marbling, quality grade, yield grade, hot carcass weight, fat thickness, ribeye area, heifer pregnancy rate, stayability (longevity), calving ease, docility, coat color, breed-specific horned/polled, multisire parentage and an optional diagnostic test for persistent infections (PI) of the bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus. And Igenity offers a combination radio frequency identification (RFID) tag and tissue collection device, making DNA collection and electronic identification possible in one simple step.

"We strive to provide the beef industry with the most useful and thoroughly researched technology with the comprehensive Igenity profile," Dr. Bauck says. "By analyzing traits in nearly every important aspect of cattle production — and continuing to add to its broad range of analyses — the Igenity profile empowers producers to evaluate a variety of economically important traits at one time."

For more information, contact your Igenity Sales Representative, call 1-877-Igenity or visit www.Igenity.com.

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs more than 5,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2007 sales were nearly $2.5 billion. Merial Limited is a joint venture between Merck & Co., Inc. and sanofi-aventis. For more information, please see www.merial.com.

1Carstens GE, Tedeschi LO. Defining Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle. Presentation at Beef Improvement Federation Conference. 2006. Available at: http://www.bifconference.com/bif2006/pdfs/Carstens.pdf. Accessed May 26, 2008.

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