Can Genomics and Big Data Help Feed Cattle Much More Efficiently?


April 20, 2017 :: Dr. Erasmus Okine
Moderated by Bobbi Cullum

In the ever-changing landscape of Canadian agriculture, efficiency is the new buzzword. If cattle feeding efficiency can be increased by about five per cent, Alberta livestock producers can save approx. $100 million a year, even if only one-third of them adopt those efficiency improvements.

With about three billion people moving into the middle class in emerging economies like China and India, the demand for meat is likely to increase substantially over the next decades. Canada is one of five or six countries that have the ability to provide this food in a safe, affordable, nutritious, and environmentally sustainable manner. Canadian producers have always done quite well increasing efficiency in their production practices. From 1977 to 2007 for example, producing the same amount of beef required 70% of the animals, 81% of the feed, 88% of the water and 67% of the land. For those who want to count carbon, that resulted in a 16 per cent decrease in the carbon footprint of beef animals.

Through genomics and “big date”, scientists are able to select the more efficient animals with heritability of about 40 per cent for those traits. Once low residual feed intake bulls are selected, the process of passing on those genes to their offspring’s can start. The speaker will explain the details of how genomics and “big data” works and speculate on the future of Canadian beef production.

Speaker: Dr. Erasmus Okine

Dr. Erasmus Okine commenced his term as Vice-President (Research) July 1, 2015, joining the University of Lethbridge from the University of Alberta, where he served in a dual capacity as the Associate Vice-President (Research) and Associate Vice-President (Academic).
Dr. Okine’s research interests focus on topics relevant to Canadian agriculture, including: elucidating the roles of the key enzymes involved in marbling and synthesis of sub-cutaneous adipose tissue in beef cattle; providing insights into mechanisms controlling glucose and starch utilization for increased animal productivity; and residual feed intake (RFI), methane emission and mitigation in the ruminant animal, especially in beef cattle.

A native of Ghana, Dr. Okine completed his Bachelor of Science (1978) and Master of Science (1981) in Animal Science at the University of Ghana in Legon, followed by his PhD (1990) at the University of Alberta. He served as a lecturer at the University of Ghana from 1983 to 1985, prior to the completion of his PhD in Animal Nutrition and Digestive Physiology.

Moderator:   Bobbi Cullum

Date: Thursday, April 20, 2017
Time: Noon - 1:30 PM (30 minutes each for presentation, lunch and Q & A)
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S
Cost: $12.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea)


Share URL: http://sacpa.ca/4v89Q