We are continuously asked the following questions in the DNA department.
“How many more genetic defect tests will be developed?”
“How can I best protect my herd if something comes up down the road?”
“If my sire/dam has a clear TraitTrac, will that always be the case?”
The answer to all of these questions is simple. Protect and insure your herd. No, I do not mean that you need to call your local insurance representative and take out a policy, but what I do mean is you do need to start taking the necessary steps to properly protect your genetic investments. There will always be new DNA testing that is constantly coming about and being introduced in to the industry, that is a fact. Whether it is a few months down the road, a year or even ten years, it’s coming. What is important to remember is each animal, including you, has genetic defects. It is up to you, as the breeder, to evaluate each animal/defect, determine the economic impact and decide whether they will be retained in the herd as a breeding animal.
Naturally, your next question is, “what’s the best way to start collecting DNA insurance on my herd?” The answer is once again, a fairly easy one. After you have finished calving or prior to weaning, or if you’re planning on working the entire herd through the chute any time soon, call ASA and order blank DNA cards. Blood cards are supplied free of charge and you can order any amount you wish. Keep in mind, if an animal is a twin, you’ll need to pull a hair sample instead of a blood sample since twins can share the same blood source in-utero so oftentimes a blood sample will end in a No Results(NR). When the animal comes through the chute, collect a blood sample on the card. Label the card and place it in a secure location, out of the elements, such as a safe or desk drawer. Every animal that steps foot or is born on your ranch, should have a DNA sample collected and stored. Whether you ever have to submit the sample for testing or not, it’s better to have it and not need it, than to not have it. By collecting a sample on each animal, you’re insuring that if a DNA test becomes available somewhere down the road, you can submit that one sample for testing and depending on the result, further testing may not be necessary on any other animals. You can potentially save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of testing by taking the time to secure a DNA sample on each animal and store it. Yes, this includes your AI sires and donor dams which are required to have a DNA sample submitted through the Association. Go ahead, take an extra sample, or two, especially on the high impact animals. It never hurts to have extra samples stored for use at a later date if it becomes necessary.
As the spring calving season is coming to a close, herd bulls are being turned out, AI sires are going to stud and donor dams are being flushed, take a moment, order some blank cards and start stockpiling a DNA sample on every animal. I can guarantee you, it’s the best way to prepare for the future of DNA technology and at the same time, insure your genetic investments.
If you have questions on the above information or would like more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 406.587.4531 and select #3 from the menu options.