As fall sale season quickly approaches, producers utilizing DNA technology should begin the sample collection process as soon as it’s practical, says Kent Andersen, Ph.D., Pfizer Animal Genetics.

“If producers want to present DNA information on sale cattle, it’s imperative they plan ahead for two reasons,” he says. “First, there needs to be enough time for samples to be processed and results returned to the breeder. And, second, both sellers and buyers need time to evaluate the information prior to sale day.”

Andersen recommends breeders collect and submit DNA samples 60 days prior to when catalog materials are due and if possible, collect two samples ─ especially for important animals.

“While it should not take the full 60 days to process the samples and return results, it’s best to allow a little extra time to ensure all information will be ready at press time,” he says. “Inevitably, there may be a few samples in each batch that cannot be processed. Therefore, having a spare sample on hand will save that animal another trip through the chute and the producer the time of collecting another sample.”

Andersen also recommends producers check with their Pfizer Animal Genetics representative when preparing to collect samples, as the submission process has changed for some breeds.

“Pfizer Animal Genetics is pleased to partner with several breed associations to help streamline the DNA-testing process,” he says. “However, this also means there have been a few changes since the beginning of this year that breeders need to keep in mind.”

DNA sample collection can easily be worked into normal processing routines, which is why Andersen says producers should plan head to gaining information about genetic defects as well as results for multiple traits of economic importance with GeneSTAR®, SireTRACE® and Black Coat Color.

“Given that DNA testing has become a mainstream seedstock production practice, incorporating sample collection from all animals into routine cattle processing, such as preconditioning, pregnancy checking, etc., ensures that stored samples are available for convenient submission whenever they are needed,” Andersen says.