AWA Friday Newsletter - November 12, 2021

AWA Friday Newsletter - November 12, 2021 To receive our weekly newsletter in your inbox, contact the AWA office and request to be added to our email list.

It’s time to make entries for the National Western Stock Show, Denver Colorado.  See more information below and a link to the NWSS website to complete entries.
It’s also time to showcase your ranch and breeding program in the 2022 Breeders Guide. Ads are due by December 1, 2021. Call or email the AWA office today to reserve your spot. 

The AWA Breeders Guide is a key component of the AWA promotion efforts for the year to be distributed at shows, conferences, and new breeder packets. See more information below.

National Animal Germplasm Program Helps Livestock Producers 
Work is underway to develop a breeding tool to help Wagyu producers make genetic decisions.

By Burt Rutherford

Genetic diversity. For Wagyu, cattle that in the U.S. are experiencing remarkable growth and popularity, that’s a critical part of breed development that must be curated carefully.

That’s because the genetic variation in U.S. Wagyu is fairly narrow, according to Dr. Harvey Blackburn, a geneticist and director of USDA’s National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP), located on the campus of Colorado State University.

NAGP’s mission is to collect and store germplasm samples from every breed of livestock in the United States., he told around 250 Wagyu breeders at the American Wagyu Association (AWA) 2021 annual conference in Fort Collins, Colo. The program has samples from more than 150 different breeds of livestock; for beef they have samples dating back to 1948 through today. In total, the repository contains more than a million samples from U.S. livestock from around 57,000 different animals.

“With that, we have an enormous opportunity to assist livestock producers as they go through trying to manage genetic resources,” he said. “If they get into a genetic-related problem, this is the depository that producers or researchers can come to and evaluate the genetics of a particular livestock breed and hopefully come up with a resolution.”

Working with AWA using pedigree analysis, Blackburn estimates Wagyu cattle in the U.S. are about 9% inbred. “That’s a very typical level for cattle breeds in the U.S.,” he reassured Wagyu breeders. “We’re not seeing things accelerate at a really fast rate among the breed, which is a good thing. But it’s something that breeders need to be cognizant about as they make their breeding decisions.”

To that end, Blackburn and AWA are conducting an in-depth genetic cluster analysis of Wagyu cattle. “Based on our computations from the pedigrees, we can compute the genetic relationship of each animal. And based on that genetic relationship, we can start grouping animals into clusters or smaller groups of subpopulations that are genetically unique and different from each other than the rest of the population.”

The analysis shows that there are about six different subpopulations of Wagyu in the U.S. that offer opportunities for making breeding decisions, he said.

How that works is a breeder can look at the pedigree information of his or her herd, then look at where that falls in a cluster. Then, by looking at the amount of genetic difference between each cluster, breeders can select cattle that are more genetically diverse.

That avoids the potential for unintentional inbreeding. “As we’re looking at those populations, we may not want to mate animals within a cluster to one another if we’re interested in keeping genetic diversity,” he told Wagyu breeders.

Eventually, Blackburn and AWA envision an online tool where Wagyu breeders can compare their animals with the different animal clusters and sub-clusters that have been identified. “Then you could see what those relationships are between animals and make a choice of whether or not that’s what you want to do.”

For more information about Wagyu, go to

NWSS Entries Due - More Info Here
View Ad Rates Here

Did You Know?

Due-to-Calve Reports

Did you know that you can keep track of your females that are due to calve in Digital Beef?

If you have recorded pasture exposures, use of straws for bulls through your Semen Inventory menu, or use of embryo transfers through the Embryo Transplant Management menu, the bred females will display under the Due-to Calve Report a few weeks before the earliest possible calving dates based on the breeding date.

Go to Herd Mgmt: Breeding: Due to Calve to bring up this menu to view your females with unresolved breeding results that are expected to calve soon based on the entered breeding information.

The females’ information will be displayed here, as well as the breeding information (AI bull and AI date, Embryo donor dam and AI bull and transfer date). A timeframe will also be listed with an earliest calving date and a latest calving date that has been calculated based on the pasture exposure, AI, or embryo transfer date entered.

If the breeding did not take and the female had not been marked as open, you can select the ‘breeding did not take’ option to remove the female from the due to calve list.


Texas Wagyu Association Fall Harvest Event

November 6, 2021
Lulling, TX

Auctioneer: C.D. “Butch” Booker

Sale Manager: James Danekas & Associates Inc.

Internet Venue:


18 Bulls $7,050.00

41 Females $7,200.00

2 Pregnancies $4,700.00

117 Embryos $790.00/embryo

251 Units of Semen $190.00/unit

View Full Report Here