The American Gelbvieh Association (AGA) board has approved an aggressive plan and policy to eliminate the Arthrogryposis Multiplex (AM) gene from the Gelbvieh herdbook. AM is a genetic defect found in certain lines of Angus cattle. The Balancer® cattle registered with AGA have the possibility of being AM carriers if the Angus genetics used in the hybrid seedstock carry the AM gene.

AGA’s plan requires all bulls applying for an artificial insemination (AI) permit to be tested AM-free before a permit is issued, says Wayne Vanderwert, AGA executive director. “AGA is also testing the 30 most popular AI sires as a risk assessment for the breed.”

Vanderwert says the Gelbvieh herdbook’s exposure to the AM gene is relatively low, but may increase as more Angus sires and dams are tested. “We are in a good place and the policy will help us eliminate AM carriers from the herdbook with a step-up policy over the next three years. By Jan. 1, 2012, all Balancer cattle will need to test AM-Free to be eligible for registry,” he says.

In addition, AGA will require testing of all AM-50 females in the herdbook. An AM-50 animal has one or more AM-Carrier parents or more than one AM-Carrier grandparent.

A complete copy of the policy and plan is available at