Ag Notebook: Scientific breakthroughs for the Angus industry |

Ag Notebook: Scientific breakthroughs for the Angus industry

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Identification of gene to help Angus breeders

American Angus Association officials announced this month that a genetic condition known as Development Duplications, or polymelia, has been discovered in some Angus sires.

Early embryonic death has been observed to be the most common result of DD.

Johnathan Beever at the University of Illinois and Laurence Denholm of Australia’s NSW Department of Trade and Investment have conducted research to identify the genetic issues related to the defect.

“It has recently been determined that the condition is inherited as a simple recessive trait,” Beever’s report says. “We have successfully developed a DNA diagnostic test to identify carrier animals.”

Beever’s research has revealed that the allele frequency among U.S. Angus sires is moderately high at 3 percent, however there are no Angus sires in the present population that will, by themselves, produce calves with DD.

Casper College rodeo arena ranks low on state project list

A new rodeo arena proposed to supplement Casper College’s agriculture program fell near the bottom of the state’s construction priorities list at a recent meeting of the Wyoming Community College Commission.

The proposed 60,000-square-foot facility, which would be located off-campus and include an education facility and indoor rodeo arena with seating for 500, ranked ninth out of 10 proposals at the commission’s July 26 meeting in Torrington.

The college will finish construction on a new student union and a music building within the next few months.

“Mostly it’s because they have a pretty good amount of existing space,” Larry Buchholtz, fiscal operations manager for the Wyoming Community Colleges Commission, said of Casper College’s arena proposal.

A computer system ranks the proposals by priority based on 13 different factors, ranging from existing space to projected and historical changes in enrollment and area population, Buchholtz said.

Streamlining state water law

Lawmakers are hoping a bill that would expand opportunities for demonstrating projects that share water between farms and cities is implemented as quickly as possible.

The interim water resources review committee Wednesday heard from the prime backers of SB 1248, the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District and the Super Ditch, on the need for it.

“I think this is about having a conversation about keeping agriculture vital in the Arkansas River basin,” said Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Ark District.

“Agricultural-municipal transfers have to become the preferred alternative, rather than continued buy-and-dry,” added Peter Nichols, attorney for both the Lower Ark and Super Ditch.

At the heart of the bill is an attempt to streamline state procedures in order to allow transfers to occur on a short-term, limited basis, said Kevin Rein, deputy director for the Colorado Division of Water Resources.

Winner said the current structure of law and engineering hung up a pilot project to transfer 250 acre-feet (81 million gallons) last year over the timing of delivery of 23 gallons in the 74th month of return flows.

The new law gave the Colorado Water Conservation Board authority to look at programs that could sidestep those types of issues in order to allow water users to work out details of such plans. Rein said the CWCB should develop criteria and guidelines by November.

Legislators want the program to be implemented soon and smoothly.

Frost damage means fewer peaches

Front Range peach buyers are finding out it’s not that easy to find the prized fruits in the worst weather year for peaches in more than two decades.

Acquiring peaches is requiring a little bit of extra work this year because Palisade, Colo., growers say they are harvesting only 20 to 40 percent of their normal crops on average.

Unusual April freezes killed the rest.

Connections, and the willingness to drive peach-laden pickups and vans over the Continental Divide, seem to be determining where the peaches are turning up in the Denver-metro area.

Supermarket chains and farmers’ markets have a reduced supply of the peaches.

No answer blowin’ in the wind

Pueblo County commissioners know they don’t have the resources to stop dust from blowing.

But they are considering several options in dealing with a complaint under a rarely used 1954 state law regulating blowing dust.

Attorneys for the landowners say the situation is an emergency and requires immediate remediation.

A report in July by the Natural Resources Conservation Service revealed that the property supported natural grasses in the 1990s, but now appears to be badly damaged from grazing.

It recommends removing all livestock from the property until grass can be re-established.

That could take years, since the property has no irrigation water, and some common remedies such as surface roughening might actually worsen the damage.

The fines under the 1954 law are $15 per acre, which would generate $600 — not enough money for remedial action.