Neogen Selected to Improve Scotland Beef Herd Genetics

Jamie JohansenAgribusiness, Beef, Cattle, Genetics, Genomics

neogenNeogen Corporation has been selected by Scottish Government to perform genomics testing as part of the government’s program to improve the country’s beef herd.

The objective of the Scottish Government’s program, The Beef Efficiency Scheme, is to improve overall herd profitability, and make the country’s beef herd more sustainable — both economically and environmentally. The five-year project is a partnership between Scottish Government and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). Neogen’s European GeneSeek laboratory is responsible for the project’s animal genotyping and supply of sampling kits.

“The genotyping will be performed using our new GGP-NG 50K chip and the results that we produce will be used by SRUC, which is developing predictions for improved genetic selection in respect of growth rates, feed conversion, maternal behavior, nutrition practice, and disease resistance for commercial beef farmers,” said Dr. Gary Evans, Neogen’s European business development manager. “We won the contract through a competitive tender issued by Scottish Government, and a part of our success was due to our new European genomics facility in Ayr.”

Scottish beef has long been recognized for its high quality, and beef production is at the heart of Scottish agriculture. With an output in 2013 of about £825m (approximately $1 billion USD) the beef industry alone makes up 26% of Scottish agricultural output — and is the biggest single sector of the Scottish agricultural industry. The country’s climate, soil type and overall topography create ideal conditions for beef cattle to thrive.

All processes, procedures and equipment in Neogen Europe’s new laboratory are a carbon copy of Neogen’s flagship GeneSeek laboratory in Lincoln, Nebraska — which is the largest animal genomics laboratory in the world.