As fall approaches, many of you are preparing to wean calves, select replacements and market cattle. Even though some areas of the country are still experiencing drought, better moisture in many regions of the country have helped stabilize our registrations.
August is one of the busiest times of the year in the NALF office. We will complete the 2013-2014 budget for the upcoming year and the board is intent on remaining aggressive with the marketing and advertising campaign that was started the previous year. Although we have been through many changes last year with the defect policy and the problems the defect module created with the registry system, things are finally fixed in the online system and additional improvements can be expected.
As most of you are aware, GeneSeek (Igenity) has purchased Scidera (MMI) and as a result, testing and processing of DNA at Scidera is no longer available. The turnaround times have improved to 10-12 business days at Lincoln, Nebraska, if samples are turned in correctly to the NALF office in Denver. We have had a few problems on inadequate samples and have had a few results come back requiring a new sample, but the number of incidences has dropped substantially compared to last fall as GeneSeek continues to streamline their testing.
When you submit samples on hair cards, remember to obtain enough hair to complete the requested testing with the follicle attached. Take hair samples from the tail switch that is equivalent to the width of your thumb to ensure we have a large enough sample size to work with.
As you submit your data on cattle this fall, don’t forget to turn in entire contemporary groups. In order for your best animal’s EPDs to display their quality, they must be compared to all their contemporaries at weaning. This will allow more accurate ratios and a more accurate genetic evaluation.
There has also been some confusion on ET calves and getting them included in contemporary groups. In order to accomplish this, producers need to include the age and breed of the recipient cow. This is not a NALF directive, but rather a BIF (Beef Improvement Federation) guideline that has been in place for years. Including the age and breed of the cow factors in milking differences and weaning and yearling weight differences when EPD adjustments are made. If age and breed of the recipient cow are not included, ET calves won’t be part of a contemporary group when the run is calculated regardless of who NALF does its genetic evaluation with.
Remember, the LIMS program can also be a helpful and cost-savings tool when registering your cattle. We are pleased to report a growing percentage of the NALF membership is taking advantage of LIMS. You can register all of your calves and record their transfers online for a cost relative to registering half of them as yearlings, all while getting more accurate information.
NALF would also like to remind the membership it is continuing its partnership with Zoetis, formerly Pfizer Animal Health. Zoetis offers parentage, polled and defect testing on a price competitive basis. Every dollar spent with Zoetis qualifies for the NALF rebate program, whereby NALF receives a percentage of the dollars its members spend on Zoetis products. We appreciate those of you that sent in receipts on vaccines and other products from Zoetis last year and need your participation again this year. Providing NALF with a copy of your Zoetis receipts will allow the Foundation to have added funds for research, education and junior programs. Please continue to fax, e-mail or mail your receipts to NALF care of Kaye Weaber. Kaye’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, members should be aware that the nominating committee is currently reviewing members that have expressed an interest in serving on the NALF board. As stated in the last NALF Report in Limousin World, members should express their interest to serve to the committee by August 15. The names of the nominating committee are listed on the NALF website and have also been published in two issues of Limousin World. Prospective candidates should express their interest by August 15 each year, and if the committee does not slate those interested persons, supporters then may add their candidates’ names to the ballot via the at-large nomination process.
To qualify as a member-at-large, the candidate must have at least 15 qualifying signatures from lifetime, founder or active annual members on either the petition style form available on the NALF website or 15 letters of support from lifetime, founder or active annual members, or a combination thereof to be received in the NALF office no later than October 15.
Remember, NALF is here to serve you and your needs. Feel free to call us with questions or assistance. We are looking forward to the fall show and sale season and seeing you again at these events, and the 2014 National Western Stock Show.
In the upcoming year, you can look forward to additional evaluation tools with the completion and availability of the Lim-Flex Profiler to complement the current Limousin Profiler. NALF is also looking to complete the conversion from STR (microsatellite parentage) to SNP parentage in the near future in an effort to upgrade and streamline our parentage data. For further information on SNP parentage, please see Joe Epperly’s article in this issue.
I know many of these changes have been a painful process, yet your current board and staff are intent on upgrading the services available to the membership. The services and data offered to our membership are designed to advance and grow the breed. We are not content to stay “as is.” We appreciate your patience through the changes this past year and are excited about the future of the Limousin breed.