Alberta beef producers have received a double shot of good news from the federal government.
Delta Genomics Centre of Edmonton will receive $575,000 to boost the adoption of new genetic profiling tools that will be more accurate, less costly and less time-consuming than traditional DNA tools.
Feedlot owners and processors could use the technology to pinpoint animals with the most desirable meat qualities. The tools identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are genetic markers that can be tracked between parent and offspring.
“This project is an essential stepping-stone to get the benefits of genomics into the hands of producers on the ground,” said Colin Coros, Delta Genomics Centre’s vice-president of operations.
The federal government also approved four additional Canadian beef plants that will be able to export beef to China, bringing the total to seven. The newly approved plants are Les Viandes Laroche of Asbestos, Que., Ryding Regency Meat Packers and St. Helen’s Meat Packers of Toronto and Canadian Premium Meats of Lacombe, Alta..
Canada and China reached a deal in June 2011 to allow imports of Canadian deboned beef from animals younger than 30 months.
The Chinese market is estimated to be worth $20 million annually.
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association president Martin Unrau said it was one more step in expanding the country’s beef trade.