Neogen launches heterosis test for cattle

A new tool from Neogen could help farmers measure the success of their cattle crossbreeding programs.

The manufacturer announced the launch of Igenity + Envigor, “the first and only genetic test in the beef industry that measures heterosis in crossbred cattle,” according to Neogen.

Heterosis occurs when crossbred offspring show traits superior to those of their purebred parents. Testing cattle for the degree of heterosis they show can help farmers determine how effective their crossbreeding programs are.

“Igenity + Envigor will provide producers with an avenue to select better replacements and make genetic progress in traits of relevance to their operations,” said Dr. Stewart Bauck, Neogen’s vice president of agrigenomics.

Envigor adds several new features to Neogen’s existing Igenity Beef product. In addition to the 16 traits reported with Igenity Beef, Envigor provides an estimate of heterosis in crossbred cattle on a scale from one to 10, in which a higher score indicates increased heterosis, according to the announcement.

Neogen’s analysis found that a one-score increase in Envigor leads to a 4% increase in the probability of a heifer getting pregnant and a 4% increase in her likelihood to stay in the herd for six years. This information can help producers determine the costs of raising replacement heifers, the company said.

“Good crossbreeding programs have proven that heterosis leads to increased fertility, lower cull rates, more pounds weaned per cow exposed and greater feed efficiency,” said Jamie Courter, Neogen’s beef product manager. “Rather than replace an effective crossbreeding program on its own, Envigor will help ranch owners make more informed decisions.”