Genetic Testing for Irish Blacks

Using Data to Evaluate Irish Black & Irish Red Cattle

Cattlemen accustomed to utilizing Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) may wonder why this information isn’t available for Irish Blacks and Irish Reds.

The answer is simple — this small, focused genetic pool of Irish Black and Irish Red cattle doesn’t have the sheer numbers required to have an EPD database at this time. However, the Irish Black Cattle Association (IBCA) represents seedstock producers and 3,000 registered cattle, which provides the infrastructure and support for these breeders to collect, record and preserve the pedigrees of Irish Black and Irish Red cattle.

Deb Brown, Long Pines Land and Livestock owner and current IBCA president, explains, “The Irish Black and Irish Red breed is the only trademarked breed in the U.S., and the fact that it was developed in the U.S. by American cattle rancher, Maurice Boney, is even better. Today, our association oversees the registration of Irish Black cattle. Each animal must be DNA-verifiable as a pureblood. This gives buyers confidence that they are truly buying Irish Black cattle.”

What makes Irish Black and Irish Red cattle so special and unique is the tightly controlled and closed gene pool that offers consistency in performance to meet the demands of commercial cattlemen while also exceeding the expectations of consumers seeking a great beef-eating experience.

 
 

So without EPDs, what is the best way to evaluate Long Pines Irish Black or Irish Reds?

At Long Pines Land and Livestock, quality and trust are the foundation of our breeding principles. We ensure the integrity of the cattle offered to our customers through genetic testing to index carcass and maternal traits, and to confirm coat color and horned status. We also use ultrasounding to measure carcass traits of live animals.

By using Neogen’s Igenity Beef DNA testing, we can predict performance traits in our cattle to better assist our customers in making animal selections that meet their needs. This DNA test consists of 16 major traits, plus parentage verification.

The Igenity Beef test provides a 1 to 10 score for each of the following traits:

• Birth weight
• Calving ease-direct
• Calving ease-maternal
• Stayability
• Heifer pregnancy
• Docility
• Milk
• Residual feed intake
• Average daily gain
• Weaning weight
• Yearling weight
• Tenderness
• Marbling
• Ribeye area
• Fat thickness
• Hot carcass weight

At Long Pines, we use this data to continually measure and improve our herd – and so can you! These scores, along with our ultrasound data, can help producers leverage the potential of Irish Black and Irish Red genetics to maximize profits. This depth of data allows both seedstock and commercial cattlemen to identify, manage and market cattle with more confidence.

As you appraise the bulls for sale at Long Pines Land and Livestock, please don’t hesitate to contact Deb about the production goals of your herd. Assisting our customers in identifying the bulls that will work best in their herds is our focus, and thanks to genetic and ultrasound testing, we can more accurately and efficiently help select the herd sires that will improve and enhance your future calf crops.