Genomic Testing Enters the Show Ring
The North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) is constantly looking for ways to improve the Limousin breed, and often uses the National Junior Limousin Show & Congress (NJLSC) as a way to move big ideas and improvements forward.
Junior national shows are a unique show each summer for cattle breeds - exhibitors have the opportunity to showcase their cattle, knowledge and professionalism while breeders flaunt their best genetics and get a close up look at the competition from across the country. Everything about the week from competitions to livestock shows help improve breeds to be their very best in a one-week showcase.
For the Limousin breed, this week also represents a time filled with fun, reuniting with long-distance friends and the opportunity to better a breed that is known for its muscling, maternal ability, feed efficiency and profit-added value.
In 2022, the NJLSC is being held in Amarillo, Texas at the Tri-State Fairgrounds June 25 to July 1 and the NALF and North American Junior Limousin Association (NALJA) boards are excited to offer a brand new show with goals to increase education of and improve the breed - the Phenotype/Genotype (P&G) Show.
“We are excited to present the Phenotype/Genotype Show,” said Mallory Blunier, NALF Director of Media and Activities. “This will be a separate blow and go show at Junior Nationals this summer where the judge will look not just at the cattle phenotypically, but also at their EPDs.”
The P&G Show will have one judge who ranks the animals before the show, based solely on their expected progeny differences (EPDs). Then, will judge the cattle classes during the show based on phenotype, or physical appearance. Once the two shows have been judged, scores from each will be combined 50/50 to determine overall class rankings and champions.
“So, even if an animal is first in class in the phenotype portion, the final placing could be completely different based on the genotype ranking,” said Blunier. “The final placings will be determined on that combined score from genotype and phenotype.”
The P&G Show will be a separate show to enter for this year’s Junior Nationals with champion banners and buckles and class winner prizes offered for the show. The difference in entering this show is that all cattle must be genomically tested to enter.
“Animals that are not genomically tested will not be allowed to show,” said Blunier. “DNA could take up to 6-8 weeks to process and we recommend sending DNA in as soon as possible. While the testing normally costs over $57 per head, NALF is covering the cost of genomic testing for cattle entered so there is no additional cost to the exhibitor.”
A large portion of cattle shows today focus solely on the phenotype of cattle, or more specifically how the genotype of an animal makes itself known through observable, physical traits. Phenotypes can include hair color, presence or absence of horns and any general overall appearance.
The genotype of cattle are shown not by physical appearance, but through EPDs, which have helped improve the cattle industry for nearly four decades now. For this show, the judge is not only looking at EPDs, but genomically enhanced EPDs. For cattle testing, genomics identify each animal’s EPD accuracy utilizing marker subsets that are identified for each trait. Genomics give producers early insight to an animal's quality because of the progeny equivalents that are generated by genomic testing.
The P&G Show judge will receive a list of classes that include entry numbers, birthdate and EPDs/$Values (CED, BW, WW, YW, MK, TM, CEM, SC, ST, DOC, YG, CW, REA, MB and FT) along with percentile breakdown.
Blunier said the show will provide a great educational opportunity to the breed, as well as improve overall breed statistics by adding more genomically tested cattle to the herd book.
“We’re really hitting it as an educational opportunity to get more information out to the juniors that revolve around EPDs,” said Blunier. “Limousin is not just bringing the heat in the show cattle industry, but we are also creating some waves in the feedyards and seedstock operations and that is why we feel this is a good opportunity for juniors to learn how EPDs work.”
The NALF and NALJA boards are very excited to offer the P&G Show this summer and hope that all who make the trip to Amarillo will enter in the show.
“We encourage all who are not participating in this event to come watch and play along too,” said Blunier. “We will have activities for participants to test their skills and see how they rank the animals compared to the judge.”
Entries for Junior Nationals will open mid-spring and are due May 15. Find more about the Texas Limousin Two-Step Junior National Show at https://nalf.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/2022-GenotypePhenotype-Show-3.pdf.