Sask. firm backed for beef carcass profiling system

A system to help feedlot operators to peg the best time to ship fat cattle will get federal backing to go commercial on a wider scale.

Saskatoon-area MP Brad Trost on Tuesday announced $750,000 in Agri-Opportunities funding for Quantum Genetics Canada to commercialize its management services system.

The Saskatoon-based company’s tool uses DNA testing and genotyping to help producers and feedlot operators sort beef cattle by genetic variations related to growth and fat profiles.

Such profiles tell feedlot operators the best feeding schedules for the animals, and also when the animal has reached the targeted body fat profile, the government said.

Such data can help feedlot operators to avoid overspending on feed to keep an animal on the feedlot unnecessarily, and to process more cattle more quickly and more profitably, the government said.

The system can also help feedlots pick up premiums for carcass attributes such as marbling and tenderness, the government noted.

The repayable Agri-Opportunities funding has already “helped the company market the system to feedlots across North America,” in turn helping create 30 jobs in Saskatchewan, the government said.

“This support got a promising new management system off the drawing board and into the market where it is helping producers cut feed costs and deliver a higher-value product to the market,” Trost said in Tuesday’s release.

“This investment will further advance Quantum Genetics in the field of beef genomics, in turn advancing value creation for primary feedlot producers,” Quantum’s chief operating officer Leigh Marquess said in the same release.

Quantum in 2003 signed a global marketing agreement with animal health giant Merial, which gave the U.S.-based firm global rights to market Quantum’s DNA testing system. That agreement, however, is reported to have ended after about a year and a half.

Agri-Opportunities was focused on commercializing agri-products, processes or services not currently produced or available in Canada but ready to be introduced to the market.

The five-year, $134 million program wrapped up at the end of March and is no longer taking applications.

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