Revolutionizing Beef Production: BIF’s iGENDEC Incorporates Beef-Dairy Crossbreeds, Paving the Way for Precision Agriculture

By Trish Svoboda

The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) has announced a significant update to iGENDEC, a tool used for creating custom selection indexes. This update now incorporates a production scenario that combines Beef and Dairy.

The beef industry is increasingly utilizing Beef x Dairy crossbreeds, or dairy beef, with over 3 million heads projected for production in 2024. These crossbreeds, particularly Holstein, Jersey, and HoJo breeds, exhibit different carcass qualities compared to native beef cows and are strategically bred for their complementary traits, resulting in high-value calves for the beef chain. The bulls used in this exclusive terminal mating system may differ from those in traditional beef systems.

While generalized selection indexes have been widely accessible to both commercial and seedstock producers for a while, the industry lacked a precision agriculture tool for creating custom indexes until the introduction of iGENDEC.

iGENDEC, developed by a team led by Dr. Matt Spangler at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, fills a gap in the industry by providing a precision agriculture tool for creating custom indexes. It allows for customization to reflect unique enterprise and production scenarios, including the sale point of calves, current phenotypic averages, economic parameters, breed(s), and investment planning horizon.

Dr. Spangler sees iGENDEC benefiting the beef and dairy sectors in several ways. It aids dairy producers in making more profitable beef sire selection decisions, enables beef seedstock producers to better advise their dairy clients, and allows for specific seedstock matings to produce beef sires that optimally match the genetic merit of the dairy cows they are mated with.

Sign up for the KCLY Digital Newspaper, The Regional