Beef herd owners facing genetic data overload at breeding time can find help. A new website, eBEEF.org, is live, says Jared Decker, University of Missouri Extension beef geneticist.
Useful information is put in terms farmers understand, Decker says. All will be in one easy-to-use spot on the Internet, Decker says.
“Genomic-assisted selection is a fast-growing part of beef production,” he says. “The eBEEF.org site highlights usable information.”
Six land-grant university specialists work together sorting out the most helpful items.
“If you run a Web search for EPDs (expected progeny differences), you get thousands of hits,” Decker says. “Most people can’t tell what is good, or not. We sort articles and post only the most helpful for cattle breeders.”
On the team with Decker are Megan Rolf, Oklahoma State University; Matt Spangler, University of Nebraska; Bob Weaber, Kansas State University; Darrh Bullock, University of Kentucky; and Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California, Davis.
The group showed the one-stop site at the Beef Improvement Federation meeting in Biloxi, Miss. The group uses peer-reviewed scientific studies for the site, which shows more than articles and fact sheets. A FAQ (frequently asked questions) page with video and text answers provides a starting point. It describes genomics, EPDs, indexes and crossbreeding.
An interactive “Ask an Expert” section gives answers about production not given in the fact sheets or FAQs.
The site archives YouTube videos, meeting recordings and webinars.
The website, at eBEEF.org, is part of the national eXtension network. Extension educators use it as a teaching resource. The prime audience remains farmer-users.
All six team members are scientists in two or more of three grants funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. They create new genetic information as well as extend it to breeders.