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New Industry Chair in Beef Genomics

Posted by stephanie rogers on January 28, 2014 in News

Yuri Montanholi grew up in a small town in Southern Brazil where he used to hang out with his grandpa and help to take care of his small herd of zebu cattle. This love of cattle eventually led him to vet school where Yuri couldn’t take his eyes away from the cows.  This degree was followed with more education focused on Beef cattle.

With these studies,Yuri developed a great background on production and management of grass fed beef cattle and studies on the biology of feed efficiency in an attempt to answer “Why two healthy bulls from the same age, breed, eating the same ration, sharing a pen  can have huge differences on the amount of ration eaten to produce beef of identical quality?”  

While there is no definitive answer to the question above, over the past ten years it was learned that bulls may have differences in their blood work parameters, eating behavior, methane production, liver function, semen quality and heart rate, which are associated with high or low feed efficiency. Therefore, this creates the possibility of developing indirect measures of feed efficiency.

Such indirect measures could facilitate the identification of the cattle’s intrinsic feed efficiency, which could result in important economic and environmental benefits for the beef industry. Indicators of feed efficiency can be used in genetic programs, genomic selection and are less expensive than the actual measurement of feed intake.

The opportunity to coordinate studies on these and many other aspects of  beef cattle biology at the Faculty of Agriculture - Dalhousie University, in collaboration with the Maritime Beef Test Station and the Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre; is promising. Yuri is working towards helping to create a productive environment for learning, teaching, developing, advancing and promoting sustainable beef cattle production in the Maritimes.

Welcome Yuri!