Cattle in a straw yard© Tim Scrivener

Genetics firm Neogen has been selected by Scottish government to perform genomics testing as part of a programme to improve the country’s beef herd.

The objective of the Scottish government’s plan, titled The Beef Efficiency Scheme, is to improve overall herd profitability, and make the country’s beef herd more sustainable — economically and environmentally.

The five-year project is a partnership between Scottish government and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

See also: EU auditors find flaws in Scotland’s CAP mapping system

Neogen’s European GeneSeek laboratory will be 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  we produce will be used by SRUC, which is developing predictions for improved genetic selection in respect of growth rates, feed conversion, maternal behaviour, nutrition practice, and disease resistance for commercial beef farmers,” says Gary Evans, Neogen’s European business development manager.

The contract was won through tender.

Neogen won favour partly due to their new European genomics facility in Ayr which is a carbon copy of Neogen’s flagship US GeneSeek laboratory in Lincoln, Nebraska — the largest animal genomics laboratory in the world.