The consensus is that genetic difference for adaptability exists among cattle. The theory is that an animal adapted to a certain environment is better suited to perform in that environment. Identifying and selecting for those traits would raise production efficiency by extending an animal's longevity, disease resistance, and other desireable traits.

The Cow Adaptability Symposium, set for Oct. 29-30 in Kansas City, MO, is designed to further that effort. The sessions begin at 8 a.m. on Oct. 29 and end at noon the following day. Registration is $150, which includes symposium meals.

The syposium is a followup to a March meeting at the Noble Foundation in Ardmore, OK. There, a committee of beef producers and geneticists gathered to define beef adaptability as broadly as possible, then focus on isolating possible traits for genetic improvement.

“The diversity in scientific disciplines and producing environments was immense. Nevertheless, progress was made, and we've started down the path that I think will lead to genetic evaluations for improved adaptability,” says Darrh Bullock, University of Kentucky associate professor of beef cattle genetics.

Among the presentation topics planned for the October meeting are: Australian research on adaptability, adaptation and learning in beef cattle; physiological observations related to beef cattle under stress; the role of disease resistance in adaptability; high-altitude disease as an example of genetic variation for adaptability; the economic importance of adaptability; an example of selection: cows matched to the production environment; and a discussion on adaptability.

See www.ansci.cornell.edu/adaptability for more info, or contact John Pollak (ejp6@cornell.edu) or Susan Herbert (shh4@cornell.edu), or call 607/255-4416.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown (888/236-2427 or www.marriotthotels.com). To make room reservations by phone, ask for “Adaptability Symposium.” To make room reservations on the Internet, use the following code: NTBNTBA.