Minister MacAulay announces support to advance genetic evaluation of Canadian cattle

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Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Canadian cattle industry is one of the country’s largest industries and a major economic driver. Canadian cattle and dairy producers hold themselves to the highest standards for quality and sustainability, which is why their genetics continue to be sought-after around the world.

Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced up to $1,627,270 to the Canadian Angus Association (CAA), through the AgriScience Program – Projects Component, to help improve genetic evaluation tools for Canadian beef and dairy cattle.

Genetic selection tools allow producers to increase their return on investment, while accurately predicting traits that benefit the environment and respond to consumer preferences. With the development of these tools, the challenge of collecting large volumes of data and managing the complexity of the collected data has increased.

With this federal support, the CAA will leverage cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, camera and computer vision systems to capture large volumes of accurate data on traits that impact producer profitability, animal health and welfare, and environmental sustainability. This research work will provide beef and dairy producers with valuable knowledge on genetic selection and support the development of new systems and technologies to further advance breeding tools. These advancements in genetic evaluation tools will further position Canada as a well-renowned country for genetics within the global cattle industry.

Investing in innovation to advance efficient and sustainable genetic traits in Canadian cattle will help maintain the quality of herds, while supporting a more productive and profitable industry for the future.

Quotes

“Canada’s world-class cattle industry contributes significantly to our country’s economy. By investing in new innovations and technologies, we can enhance the industry’s economic and environmental sustainability – putting more money in the pockets of producers, and more top-quality Canadian products on tables around the world.”

– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“The Canadian Angus Association exists to preserve and expand the breed for Canadian cattle producers and beef consumers, doing so in part by leading research and development projects. We are very grateful to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for supporting our project through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Through this project, and in partnership with Holstein Canada, our goal is to leverage cutting-edge camera and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to develop new ways to measure traits for Angus and Holstein cattle. These traits impact producer profitability, animal health and welfare, and carcass quality.”

– Myles Immerkar, CEO, Canadian Angus Association

Quick facts

  • As of January 1, 2024, the Canadian herd totaled 11.1 million cattle and calves (including both beef and dairy), on 70,490 Canadian farms and ranches.
  • In 2023, farm cash receipts from the sale of Canadian cattle and calves totaled $15 billion, in addition to the $8.6 billion generated from milk and cream sold from dairy farms, all while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs directly and indirectly.
  • The AgriScience Program, under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, aims to accelerate innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and research that benefits the agriculture and agri-food sector, and Canadians
  • The AgriScience Program – Projects Component is currently accepting applications.
  • The Canadian Aberdeen Angus Association, operating as the Canadian Angus Association (CAA), is a not-for-profit association incorporated under the Animal Pedigree Act and represents members from across Canada for the purposes of registering and recording the pedigrees of purebred Angus cattle and promoting the breed across Canada.