“If we can identify and selectively breed the animals that have the best combination of genes for producing high-quality beef with the least amount of grain, their offspring could reduce environmental impacts and save producers millions of dollars,” says Taylor. “Limiting the amount of feed used to produce beef could open farmland for other important crops, such as corn for ethanol, which could decrease dependency on fossil fuels and foreign oil.”
Dr. Christopher Seabury, assistant professor in animal genomics at the CVM, and a key participant from Texas A&M in the feed efficiency project said, “This project undoubtedly has the potential for major scientific advances enabling more efficient and cost-effective cattle production. I’m very excited about the opportunities it will offer to the beef industry.”
The $75 billion beef and dairy industry has a significant impact on the national economy and in particular contributes largely to the rural economy. The two grants by USDA-NIFA will provide tools for improvement in cattle health and production and increase profitability in the cattle industry.