Tropical-Adapted Livestock Project

Purebred Gyr Cattle

Genetic Improvement of Livestock Project

Feeding the World in 2050!

Description of the Project

This project is designed to establish nucleus herds of specific breeds of cattle (Gyr, Gyr X Holstein, Angus X Zebu crosses) to evaluate, select and deploy animals with improved milk or beef production in order to feed hungry people in the developing world. In order to achieve and sustain maximum genetic gains from the University of Illinois’ Tropical-Adapted Cattle Project, the proposed genotypes, either dairy (Holstein X Gyr) or beef (Angus X Brahman or Zebu), must be evaluated for performance (milk production or meat production) [phenotype] and this information correlated with the genomic index [genotype]. In order to gather the necessary data in a controlled manner, a reference population(s) will be established on the Angus cattle farm located at Walterboro, South Carolina.

Financial support for this project will catalyze the initiation of the ultimate establishment of a Center for the Genetic Improvement of Livestock at the University of Illinois. This Center would be housed in the Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Elements of the project will include but are not limited to:

  • Assistance with the design and development of Chessie Creek Farm facilities
  • Production of the reference population including the development breed specific nucleus herds as necessary (Gyr, Angus, Brahman, Girolando)
  • Collection of phenotypic data (birth weight, milk production, weaning weight, etc.) as required to correlate with the genomic evaluation chip
  • Development and validation of the genomic evaluation chip/test
  • Testing of the reference population for genomic traits
  • Identification of the “best” oocyte donors to mate with the best sires to produce    the IVF embryos for distribution to developing countries
  • Distribution of the resulting embryos to appropriate recipients in Developing countries to establish pregnancies
  • Providing assistance to the developing countries in order to establish a National strategy for the continued genetic improvement of livestock to help ensure food and income security.

3/4 Gyr Calves at Chessie Creek Farm