IBBA’s Statement Concerning Developmental Duplication (DD)

Published from the IBBA Breed Improvement Committee

In mid-August of 2013, the American Angus Association released a statement concerning a new genetic condition that was identified in Angus cattle. This new defect is called Developmental Duplication (DD) and is genetically transmitted as a simple recessive gene. Dr. Jonathan Beever, University of Illinois, one of the world’s most renowned experts in the genetic identification of abnormal conditions in livestock, has spent several years reviewing this condition prior to submitting a final report to the American Angus Association. When the gene associated with DD is paired (two copies of same allele) in a mating, the results are either 1) high probability of early embryonic death or 2) calves born with multiple limbs.  Other than an increase in the occurrence of mortality associated with dystocia, calves born with polymelia (born with extra limbs) often thrive, especially with removal of the limb or limbs at or soon after birth. Those animals identified as carriers (only one recessive allele) show no visible signs of the genetic condition and typically lead a normal life.

Based on research, Developmental Duplication is reported as a simple recessive trait like so many of the other genetic defects previously identified in cattle breeds around the globe.  Again, this means an animal must carry two copies of the defective recessive allele in order to show this condition. Dr. Beever tested a large number of high-use AI Angus bulls and found approximately 6.5 percent carriers of the DD genotype. Dr. Beever’s lab also discovered the DD genotype in the Brangus genetic population.

With the onset of DD, it is clear the discovery of genetic conditions will be a part of the future for all breeds of cattle. Several of our sister breed associations have already dealt with previously identified genetic conditions for years. It is a high probability IBBA will deal with some of these same previously identified conditions in our breed population. We will be working in good faith with our membership in identifying genetic conditions, managing these conditions, and protecting the interests of our commercial customers while addressing financial concerns in future breed policies.

Commercial testing is now available to identify animals carrying the DD genetic condition. We cannot stress enough the importance of a well researched and educated approach within each individual breeding program. If properly managed, the breeding and financial impact from this DD condition can be kept to an acceptable minimum.

The International Brangus Breeder’s Association Board of Directors, along with our Breed Improvement Committee, is considering the ramifications of this condition, the best interests of the breed and our membership, the state of where the science of genetics is moving with respect to the early detection of genetic conditions, and our ability to manage such genetic conditions. We are working on policy for these genetic conditions while putting the infrastructure in place to deal with abnormal genetic conditions in our breed population. Our Board will ultimately determine how we will best deal with DD and will keep you abreast of our progress.

More detailed information on polymelia condition can be found at:



IBBA Announces New Executive Vice President

Tommy-PerkinsSAN ANTONIO, TX (Sept. 20, 2013)- The International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) announced today the appointment of Tommy Perkins, Ph.D., as its new Executive Vice President. IBBA’s mission to serve the commercial cattle industry and effectively promote the Brangus breed is supported by Perkins’ background and extensive experience in the industry. He will begin his appointment with IBBA in early October.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to lead the largest American beef breed association in the United States,” Perkins said. “I look forward to working with the leadership, staff and committee volunteers as we unite the membership in our quest for continued growth of Brangus cattle in the commercial industry.”

A Silverton, Texas, native, Perkins received B.S. and M.A. degrees from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, and a doctoral degree in Animal Science/Animal Breeding and Genetics from Texas Tech University in 1992. In 2001, he received his Professional Animal Scientist (PAS) certification from the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. Perkins has conducted research in multiple aspects of the industry including ultrasound technology, ultrasonic sorting of feedlot cattle, synchronization, DNA Fingerprinting and In Vitro fertilization.

Most recently, Perkins served as the Executive Vice President for Beefmaster Breeders United. The IBBA Board of Directors voted Perkins to lead the Brangus association following Dr. Joseph Massey’s resignation earlier this year.

“The Board looks forward to working with Tommy and know that he will provide direction and be a positive leader for this breed,” said Ron Flake, President of the IBBA Board of Directors. “With his knowledge and experience, IBBA will continue to make advances and provide superior Brangus genetics to our customers.”

Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, the IBBA is a membership based organization that strives to provide members with innovative programs and services. The purpose of the IBBA is to serve the commercial cattle industry by offering industry leading technology to increase the quality and reliability of Brangus genetics to its customers.

For more information about Brangus and the IBBA, visit www.GoBrangus.com.


Kodi the Cowdog- “But They Started it”

Kodi the Cowdog stories are a monthly series based on a book titled, “Letters from Kodi, The Little Cowdog With The Wiggly Butt”. The book is written by Brangus producer and IBBA member Phyllis Clem, through the eyes of Kodi, a miniature Australian Shepherd.

Hi Y’all,

Whew, but it’s been hot lately. I know after four years that this is the way Texas summers are, but I for one am glad that it’s the middle of August. That means fall is on the horizon. These hot days make me want to stay indoors and stretch my little belly out on the cool tile floor, but since I’m a cowdog I have to work out in the heat some. Thankfully at this time of the year there’s not much to do cattle wise. My girls are smart enough to stay in the cool shade during the heat of the day, so we check them early and late. It won’t be long before the fall calvers will start having babies though and I hope the weather will cool some by then.

And this time of summer usually means brown grass since we usually don’t get much rain in July, but this year is different. A few weeks back we had over seven inches of rain in just a few days and boy did the grass respond. It’s green everywhere you look and ‘my girls’ are sure enjoying it. Since I speak their language I overheard some of them commenting how good the fresh green grass tastes, especially now that it’s not covered with dust.  It’s sure nice to ride along in the mule too and not see a dust trail behind us everywhere we go. My folks have a stone plaque that has some words on it that says, “A good rain and a new calf are always welcome at this ranch”. I think everyone in the cattle business can agree with that.

I got to noticing something the other day and that’s how many different kinds of ears there are. Have you noticed that? When I was a little pup one of mine would pop up when I got excited and my folks jokingly called me ‘Radar’. But now both of them lay down correctly. Mr. P’s ears stay up all the time even when he’s sleeping. He says that’s so he’ll always know when I’m going to pounce on him. Sug’s ears are always upright too. I guess that’s cause horses are flight animals and always have to be aware of approaching danger so they can run away. Hers do seem to stand up straighter though when Mama whistles and she knows it’s time for her apple treat. ‘My girls’ ears are pretty big and floppy, but that’s because of the breed of cattle they are, Brangus. You may remember a while back I mentioned a twin calf we named Itsy cause she and her twin sister were so little. Her ears were so big compared to the rest of her body that I thought she could have flown if she’d gotten those things flopping just right. Of course her body finally caught up to the size of her ears. Mr. Donkeyinthenextfield has huge ears that I thought might be useful in early alien detection, but so far that hasn’t been the case. Now on the human side of things most ears look about the same to me. Some have things dangling from them called jewelry, but not all. And some even have phones attached to them. Those look kind of goofy if you ask me. Surely they take those things off now and then. Anyway I just wondered if you had noticed ears lately?

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Six Reasons Social Media will Help your Cattle Operation

Lauren Chase

Follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenMSea or contact her at lauren.chase4@gmail.com

By Lauren Chase

My grandfather was a corn farmer and raised cattle in Iowa for the majority of his life. Now that he is retired, he and his fellow farming buddies head to the local coffee shop at least once a week to brag about grandkids and analyze what’s happening in society. While this type of gathering is still useful and enjoyable, the younger generations are finding other ways to communicate with each other and to market their cattle.

As the beef industry continues to innovate, so do the ways of doing business. Social media has changed how every company markets and brands themselves, as well as public figures, artists and athletes. In our business, it should be no different.

Here are a few ways that social media will help your cattle operation:

1 – Peer Recommendation

If our friend has it, we have to have it too, right? In most cases, the answer is “yes”. What social media has created is a space for your friends, family and acquaintances to share how they feel about all sorts of things even if they enjoyed your bull sale. If a rancher down the road posts on Facebook that he bought a good bull from XYZ Ranch, I’m more inclined to check out the bulls at that ranch because I trust my friend’s opinion. And thus begins the word-of-mouth, free advertisement for XYZ Ranch.

2- Beef Business Online

International Brangus Breeders AssociationToday, there are so many ways for a person to contact another person. If I want to reach a friend, I could call, text, tweet, Facebook message, email, instant message, SnapChat, Instagram them, etc. As chaotic as this sounds, the upcoming generations of beef producers will conduct business through a variety of these forms, and because social media allows for instant contact and an easy way to share visuals, it becomes another way to conduct business.

Are you trying to get people to your bull sale? Post photos of the bulls on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Potential buyers are out there and could message you for more details. Are you trying to make people aware of a legislative issue affecting cattle producers? Post the link to your sites and spread the word. Are you trying to communicate with members in a committee? Develop a group forum on Facebook to keep everyone up to date.

3- Telling the Beef Story

Not only can social media be used to do business, but it is a great way to reach networks of people outside of the beef industry and teach them about agriculture. You become a spokesperson and a face for beef, essentially “humanizing” the industry and making it relatable to the consumer.

Also, the photo of the bull you posted may be geared towards buyers, but it could also catch the eye of your wife’s cousin in New York City who doesn’t know how his steak is produced. Maybe the photo makes him think: “Hmm, I wonder why the bulls are sold like that,” and then messages you to learn more about your sale. Advocacy is a collective effort and the more we can reinforce the beef lifestyle through imagery and social media, the better we can tell the beef story.

4 – Other Advantages

Social media is free and it is relatively easy to produce content. If you have a smartphone, you’re golden. Cross-promotion of content on major social media sites is also easy and will only increase your marketing.

5 – Tips

Carefully consider your content and be ready to engage in conversation if people comment. Reciprocity is key — when you go from being a “talking head” to allowing your customers to have a voice, your interaction will greatly increase.

Watch trends and be willing to try new things. Hashtags are huge on Twitter and have become more frequent on Instagram and Facebook. For those who don’t know, hashtags are like “key words” and can help you engage in the conservations you want to be in. For example: #ranchlife #beef #Texas

6 – @GoBrangus

GoBrangus (gobrangus) on TwitterThe IBBA has done a terrific job of establishing itself on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. As a Brangus producer, utilize the services they have provided for you. For example: If you are out checking cows and snap a photo of a new calf, tweet it and include a mention to the IBBA (@gobrangus). Most likely, you will be retweeted by them. What does all of this mean? Not only will your photo go out to your followers, but once it’s retweeted, it will go out to all of IBBA’s followers. People who follow IBBA on Twitter, most likely have some interest in Brangus cattle. One of those followers could be a potential buyer for you. It’s a win-win!

Understanding these trends and new marketing techniques is essential for the beef industry in the upcoming decades. Even though our businesses may look different than how our grandparents ran it, we all still share the same passion for the beef industry and want our operations to be successful for our own grandchildren!

About the Author:
Lauren Chase graduated from the University of Iowa with degrees in journalism and anthropology. She now works as the multimedia outreach specialist for the Montana Stockgrowers Association, working to tell the story of Montana family ranching.

Lauren can be contacted by email at lauren.chase4@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenMSea