Each February at mid month, BEEF editors produce a special issue devoted to one topic of specific interest to the cow-calf segment of our readership. We call it the annual Cow-Calf Issue and the idea is to delve more deeply into a single topic than the regular monthly issue allows us to do.

The issue's history goes back more than 25 years, but in the past 10 issues those in-depth topics have included: strategic planning (2009), calf health (2008), estate planning (2007), ranchland values (2006), biosecurity on the ranch (2005), risk management (2004), time of calving (2003), survival strategies (2002), factors affecting calf value (2001), and maternal vs. carcass traits (2000). The idea as you can see is to find a timely topic of interest to our readers and then devote the time, space and effort to do it justice.

This year, our chosen topic is “Genetics Today & Tomorrow.” The idea was to take a look at today's genetic trends and the utilization of the tools and information they provide. The centerpiece of this issue is a comprehensive survey of BEEF readers, which appears on pages 28-34 of this issue. You can see the full results of the survey at beefmagazine.com. Also unique is a comprehensive summary of commercially available DNA tests for beef cattle that appears on pages 16-17.