Home » Clients » University of Alberta – Alberta Centre for Livestock Genomics

Canada is home to roughly 15 million head of cattle and calves, 21 million hogs, and more than 660 million chickens and turkeys. With 700 million animals to work with, anyone making small beneficial changes can have a significant economic impact.

Invoke helped the Alberta Centre for Livestock Genomics assess the economic potential of its strategic business plan to develop genetic markers that target specific livestock characteristics. They wanted to know what it might mean (economically) if the Centre achieved everything it set out to accomplish.

"A key part of moving a new idea and technology forward is helping stakeholders understand the value proposition," said Brian Rhiness, Chief Development Officers of the Centre. "This work will assist that process."

Given just three weeks to do the work, there was little room for model building and desk jockey analysis. Instead Invoke went straight to those that know best - animal producers, processors, and retailers. Ten industry experts were interviewed over the space of four days. The fodder for conversation was a synthesis of 21 international economic analyses conducted in similar jurisdictions.

As the results came together the information was feed back to the key team. "I very much appreciated the open and professional manner that Invoke used with the team," said Rhiness. "Invoke worked with the team to understand our needs and help us flesh them out. The communication during the work phase was very useful in ensuring we were getting the information we needed and that we were connecting with the right stakeholders."

End results suggest the Centre will have a significant and positive economic impact if pursued. Results from similar work conducted in Australia suggest a 30:1 benefit to cost ratio. Such paybacks are incredibly rare in agriculture, a business dominated by thin margins. Australia benefited most from a few early wins that drove up the result, but even a more conservative estimates such significant value.

Genomics technology has potential benefits in healthfulness, disease resistance, feed efficiency, manure and methane reduction, and heightened traceability. If it can achieve half of what it's set out to do, it will be of great benefit to Canada.