University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Genetic sequencing in beef cattle (Bos taurus L.) is expected to aid producers with selecting breeding stock. Using data from experimental trials conducted with Angus, Brahman, and their reciprocal cross, the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) P450 C994G marker expression was investigated for use in selecting genetics suited to grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb. L.) compared to bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) pasture. The study is unique in the sense that actual cow-calf breeding failure rates (open cows were not culled) were tracked from 1991 to 1997 on herds that were bred to calf in spring and were either exposed to fungal endophyte-infected (Acremonium coenophialum L.) tall fescue grazing and hay or not. The study used the Forage and Cattle Analysis and Planning (FORCAP) decision support software to assess economic performance driven by birth weight, weaning weight, and breeding failure rate differences across treatment. Results suggest that for reciprocal cross herds primarily grazing bermudagrass pastures, the P450 C994C genotype (CC) was most favorable; whereas, the P450 G994C genotype (GC) was more profitable with tall fescue. Adding genetic market information when selecting a production strategy led to approximately $15/head in added profitability. In comparison to the prorated cost of $2.40/head over the life of a dam, the collection, interpretation, and management of genetic information under the conditions observed in this study may be worthwhile.