January's conference will start with the Beef Workshop on Monday afternoon which will showcase initiatives aimed at improving efficiency in the Beef Industry, tackling both breeding and management approaches. There will be the opportunity to hear what is happening in a number of GB and International programmes on efficiency, health, exports and showcase the AHDB strategic farms programme.
Kim Matthews, AHDB, will describe the progress that has been made towards releasing breeding values through the Defra-funded programme which will be finished by the summer. He will then explore and discuss opportunities for a sustained programme of genetic evaluation for feed efficiency.
Prof Eileen Wall, SRUC, will update on the Beef Efficiency Scheme. The objective of the scheme is to assist in the development of Scottish suckler herd to become as efficient as possible. This five-year rural development programme scheme aims to contribute to a range of improvements focusing on cattle genetics and management practice on-farm. Her presentation will highlight some of the results to date in terms of wide spread data capture at the suckler cow and calf level and how this is being used to develop management and genetic improvement tools.
Henry Lewis, Director Export Certification Ltd/British Livestock Genetics Consortium & Marcus Bates, Chairman of Export Certification Ltd (ECL) will give an update into livestock and genetic exports post Brexit. At a critical cross-roads in our country's international position, they will discuss export certification and the role of UKECP in accessing new markets. Pathways for export promotion will be outlined and a joined export strategy for UK cattle and genetics - working with levy boards and DIT.
The afternoon will close with Stephen Miller, Angus Genetics Inc, and will give an insight into how to get the most out of DNA technology to improve the beef supply chain efficiency, looking at his experiences from the US. For American Angus, the breeding values for all traits are genomically enhanced and genotyping has become main stream for breeders. In the past year American Angus registered 327,067 animals and genotyped 162,469 for genetic evaluation making about ½ of all animals now being genotyped. This genotyping rate is up 28.3% from 2017.