Demonstrating the impact of genomics-enhanced whole herd genetic management platform on reducing beef greenhouse gas emissions

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

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This project includes the development and demonstration of a genomics enhanced whole herd genetic management platform for the beef industry. This platform will predict the genetic merit of growth, feed efficiency, carcass, and fertility traits as well as retained hybrid vigor. Demonstration of the platform is based on the premise that more efficient cattle not only consume less feed for the same amount of beef produced but also produce less GHG than less efficient ones. Cattle with greater retained hybrid vigor have better performance, resulting in reduced GHG emissions. These predicted cattle genomic information will be delivered to the beef producers via the web based whole herd genetic management platform. Unlike diet manipulations, genetic gains on improving beef production efficiency and on reducing GHG emissions are cumulative and permanent, lasting for the whole life cycle of the animals. During the project term, 10,000 head of cattle will be analyzed through the platform and reductions of up to 1200 tCO2e/yr GHG emissions are anticipated. With anticipated market rollout of the platform, it is expected that reduction of GHG emissions of 64,800 tCO2e/yr per 100,000 head of beef cattle will be achieved.