KALAMAZOO, Mich. (September 19, 2009)—Selecting and identifying feed efficient bulls with favorable carcass traits for tenderness and marbling are key components for registered Brangus breeders John and Carolyn Kopycinski of Oak Creek Farms in Chappell Hill, Texas. Oak Creek Farms is home to approximately 700 head of elite registered Brangus, Red Brangus, Red Angus and Angus cattle. To continually improve their herd and make the most educated breeding and culling decisions, the Kopycinskis have incorporated GeneSTAR® MVPTM DNA-marker test results.
“Our goal is to raise cattle that produce tender, juicy beef that people enjoy eating,” says John Kopycinski, owner of Oak Creek Farms. “I believe that genomics and DNA testing will help us achieve the genetics we need to produce the highest-quality meat for consumers. We use the GeneSTAR MVP test results alongside other available information to select the ideal bulls and cows each year and achieve a higher-standard beef product.” He also states that there needs to be a strong balance between these three core traits—feed efficiency, marbling and tenderness. An animal that excels in only one of these areas won’t last on his ranch, so the balance is critical.
Breeding for balance
Kopycinski says that he produces medium-framed, well-balanced, easy-fleshing cattle that have to be heat tolerant. In south central Texas, cattle experience extreme heat and humidity, which means Oak Creek’s cattle must be able to thrive in these conditions. Cows must also have good udder composition and be fertile in order to stay in the herd. They must calve every year without problems and be able to raise the calf in the pasture on forages without supplements. Kopycinski culls about 25 percent of his herd each year to constantly improve genetics.
GeneSTAR MVPs allow producers like John to speed genetic progress in a shorter time period. GeneSTAR MVPs are calculated using a 56-marker panel for the traits feed efficiency, marbling and tenderness. Test results provide information on individual animal genotypes, allowing breeders to make more precise breeding and management decisions.
Annual Bull Sale features MVP-tested animals
Oak Creek Farms has their annual Forage Tested Registered Bull Sale each October that attracts buyers from across the nation. At the 2009 sale, GeneSTAR MVP results will be available to potential buyers at www.oakcreekfarms.com and in the catalog on sale day. “Each year our customers become more interested in DNA testing results. Buyers will be able to use the information to select bulls that will best fit their individual ranch program,” explains Kopycinski.
GeneSTAR MVP results are available for all of the bulls offered in the farm’s sale this fall. Within the next year Kopycinski hopes to test all animals—including elite heifers and cows in the herd—to help make more-informed selection decisions earlier in the animal’s life. Test results from herd bulls are especially important in make breeding decisions.
The annual Oak Creek Farms Forage Tested Registered Bull Sale will take place on Saturday, October 24th, 2009. They will sell 160 registered Oak Creek Farm bulls which include 95 Brangus, 40 Red Brangus, 15 Angus and 10 Red Angus. Immediately following the bull sale, 250 commercial heifers consigned by Oak Creek’s bull customers will be sold.
On Friday, October 23rd, the cattle will be available for viewing all day with a Parade of Bulls at 12:30 p.m., followed by the presale seminar at 5:30 p.m. The seminar will feature Dr. Kent Andersen, associate director, technical services – North America and Kevin Milliner, regional sales manager, both of Pfizer Animal Genetics. They will be presenting a program on the latest DNA technology and the importance of DNA profiling for cattlemen. Pfizer Animal Genetics is committed to helping beef producers understand how to use the MVP reporting system to make purchasing decisions, as well as management and breeding decisions. Following the presentations a dinner will be provided, sponsored by Pfizer Animal Genetics.
The future of Genomics at Oak Creek
Oak Creek Farms has been breeding Brangus and Red Brangus since 1967, but the Kopycinski family has been in agriculture for more than 100 years. Kopycinski believes the demand for MVP results will continue to grow in the beef industry. As new DNA markers are discovered, more markers will be released to further evaluate cattle and the meat they produce.
“This isn’t something that is going to happen overnight, but we keep taking small steps in the right direction,” says Kopycinski. “One day, DNA testing will be in the forefront of the beef industry and Oak Creek Farms wants to be there, too.”
Kopycinski says he is excited about where Pfizer Animal Genetics is heading, sharing that he believes that they are a strong company with good people that will help keep the U.S. on the cutting-edge of DNA-marker technology while helping beef producers provide consumers with a consistently tender, flavorful product.
For more information about Oak Creek Farms and the upcoming bull sale, please visit http://www.oakcreekfarms.com/ or contact John Kopycinski at (979) 836-6832.
Pfizer Animal Genetics is a business unit of Pfizer Animal Health, a world leader in discovering and developing innovative animal vaccines and prescription medicines. Pfizer Inc. is the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company.
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