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4-H for Hawai‘i

4-H for Hawai‘i 8 June 2017

4-H for Hawai‘i

It's not just livestock

Beyond livestock, 4-H promotes youth well-being, leadership skills, community engagement, and STEM activities, says state coordinator Jeff Goodwin.

The Bee’s Knees

The Bee’s Knees 7 June 2017

The Bee’s Knees

Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences’s Scott Nikaido explains the importance of pollinators to Hawai‘i crops and how people can support pollinator health by using fewer insecticides and more pollinator-friendly plants.

Prepared Youth

Prepared Youth 17 May 2017

Prepared Youth

Hawai‘i is the second state that trained adults to instruct kids in a youth preparedness national pilot project. 3 4-H agents were certified through the Hawai‘i Youth Preparedness Initiative.

A Web Winner

A Web Winner 11 May 2017

A Web Winner

Hawai‘i Association of County Agricultural Agents nominated Andrea Kawabata for their national organization’s Communications Award for her coffee berry borer beetle website.

GoFarm Grows

4 May 2017

GoFarm Grows

The GoFarm Hawai‘i beginning farmer training program received new grants from the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Hawai‘i Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, and Kamehameha Schools.

Prevent the Parasite

4 May 2017

Prevent the Parasite

With new cases of rat lungworm reported in the Islands, Extension Agent Jari Sugano was featured on Hawaii News Now offering some tips on reducing the risk of the disease.

Gut Feeling

Gut Feeling 4 May 2017

Gut Feeling

GoFarm and Ag Incubator alumnus and entrepreneur Rob Barreca and graduate student Surely Wallace promoted fermented foods in a recent Honolulu Star-Advertiser article.

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14 November 2017

Good Breeding

Good Breeding

Mealani Research Station on the Big Island is the perfect living lab for researching cattle production in the tropics and subtropics. In this field, genetics is key, and now the college is researching how to match cattle qualities with the areas where they’ll be raised, including fitness for the amount of rain and sun, the temperature and humidity, and the types of forage growing there. In areas with high humidity, cows with smooth hair do better than those with thick, coarse coats. Cattle with high growth potential should be matched with areas with ample nutritious forage material, while those that will grow to be smaller can graze in places with lower-quality feedstuffs.

Such genetic matching is particularly important in Hawai‘i because of the Islands’ diverse and distinct microclimates—even individual ranchers ideally may have a “makai herd” and a “mauka herd” with different varieties. Also, because the potential range­lands here are relatively small, it’s crucial to maximize efficiency to compete in the market.

Mealani uses two modes of breeding, artificial insemination (AI) and “natural service.” For AI, the semen is chosen based on desired genetic traits and shipped frozen to the Station. Mealani typically holds AI School once a year, when UH students and local ranchers come to gain the physical prowess complementing the cutting-edge research. Immobilizing the cow in the “squeeze chute” takes perfect timing and tremendous physical strength, while inserting the long, narrow syringe requires delicate manipulation. At a recent breeding day Animal Sciences major Keala Cowell, interning with Extension agent Michael DuPonte, got hands-on instruction in the process and agreed it’s harder than it looks.

Read more in the Hawai‘i Tribune Herald

Mealani's breeding program is thriving. Its bulls rank among the top 5% and even 1% of Angus in the country.

Mealani's breeding program is thriving. Its bulls rank among the top 5% and even 1% of Angus in the country.

There’s technique involved in the natural service breeding too. Before being loosed into the field with the cows, the specially chosen bulls are fitted with cone-shaped metal muzzles daubed with paint. This device makes ingenious use of bulls’ observed behavior: when mating they touch their noses to the cows’ backs. The paint on the muzzle marks the cows, keeping track of those that have been serviced.

The breeding program is thriving. Recent genetic testing showed Mealani’s bulls rank among the top 5% and even 1% of Angus in the country, and they’re also free of a common genetic disorder, Developmental Duplication. Mealani hopes soon to make semen from its elite bulls available by contracting with a commercial stud. Best of all, more and more local ranchers are able to use the station’s research for their operations, including buying the prime-bred bulls for their own herds.