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cattle

Beefing up Cattle Research to Meet Climate Demands of Today and Tomorrow

In recent decades, cattle production and ranch profitability have been declining in the desert southwest. Especially during drought conditions, thirsty beef cattle have had to remain close to sources of water (it takes 1,590 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef), greatly reducing the area over which they can graze and causing overgrazing in parts of fragile rangelands. This loss of productive range capable of supporting cattle is one reason why the cattle industry in New Mexico is suffering.

Idaho’s Bovine Bonus

According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Idaho had an inventory of more than 2.4 million head of cattle and calves in December 2017, ranking 12th among all states. In comparison, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Idaho’s population to be around 1.7 million in 2017, which means there were over 700,000 more cattle than people in Idaho that year.

The Benefits of Studying a Domestic Goat with an Interesting History

In much of the developing world, goats are essential for survival and are highly valued for their meat, milk and hides. So it should come as no surprise that Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and academic and industry colleagues, working with DNA from a domestic goat, used new technologies to develop a vastly improved and relatively inexpensive reference goat genome. This information will serve as a kind of instruction manual for scientists showing them how to use the same technologies to lower the cost of developing improved livestock genomes.