Winter 2010 SBTS & TBTS Update

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Southern Beef Industry Backs the SBTS Project

outhern Beef Technology Services (SBTS) has received backing to continue its innovative approach to technical support and extension to the southern beef breeding industry for a further 4 year term.

Shorthorn, Charolais, Limousin, Murray Grey, Simmental, Red Angus, Wagyu, South Devon, Gelbvieh, Blonde d’Aquitaine, Red Poll, Salers and Devon.

The infrastructure for technical support and extension of genetic technologies in the Australian beef breeding industry has changed dramatically in the past decade.

and technical support initiatives within this 4 year period. This will include technical support to breed society members by a dedicated technical officer for each breed, technical support to breed society Boards and Technical Committees and an array of extension activities including a bi-annual newsletter, webinars and regional workshops on an as required basis.”

“Before SBTS was formed, this role was undertaken mainly by State Departments of Agriculture with some national coordination provided by a senior beef extension officer seconded to the Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI). However, with the wind back of Government funding and the increasing number and complexity of genetic progress tools for the beef industry this ceased to be the most effective arrangement” said Christian Duff, SBTS and TBTS Project Manager

Christian advised that “SBTS will offer a range of extension

“With close linkage between the SBTS and TBTS projects and noticeable inclusion of Angus Australia as a stakeholder Breed Society, a truly national beef breeding extension and technical support initiative has been formed” stressed Christian “This is a first for the Australian beef industry.”

Given this challenge, the ABRI and Breed Societies sought Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) assistance to co-fund a new syndicated approach based on a successful model implemented in Northern Australia since 1998 being Tropical Beef Technology Services (TBTS). “The first phase of SBTS covered a 4 year term from 2006 to 2009 and achieved significant outcomes including delivery of 87 specific workshops, against the project objective of 64, primarily for the beef seedstock sector. All workshops were based on the utilization of genetic tools for increasing the rate of genetic progress being achieved by the Australian Beef Industry” outlined Christian. With the need remaining to continue this syndicated approach to extension and technical support services, 15 breed societies, ABRI and MLA have recently agreed to support and co-fund the project for a further 4 year term until June 30, 2014. The breed society stakeholders for this period cover the main beef breeds which are primarily run in Southern Australia being Angus, Hereford,

“ABRI Managing Director, Arthur Rickards, MLA Southern Beef Manager Rob Banks and SBTS & TBTS Project Manager Christian Duff sign the agreement to extend the SBTS project for an additional 4 years, while Murray Grey and Red Angus Executive Officers, Diana Wood and Colin Rex look on.”

“SBTS & TBTS provide A national extension network for genetic technologies for the Australian beef seedstock industry” 1



UPDATE in this issue Southern Beef Industry Backs the SBTS Project


BREEDPLAN Driving Genetic Profit


BREEDPLAN set to become even better


Expert advocates the A,B,‘P’s for genetic testing


Obtaining Maximum Benefit from DNA tests for Production Traits


High Density 50K DNA test for Black Angus Released


New Australian DNA test for the Polled Gene


Industry Sires Genotyping Project


Enhancements to Calving Ease Analysis March 2010


Angus Trial Structural Soundness EBVs released March 2010


Monthly GROUP BREEDPLAN analyses for Angus Australia


Beef CRC Research into Maternal Productivity


Accessing Support in Application of Genetic Technologies


Collection of Flight Time Measurements


BREEDPLAN: From Go to Whoa! Webinar Series


New Technical Officer


Contact Details


BREEDPLAN Driving Genetic Profit


ccelerating genetic progress through BREEDPLAN could earn the Australian beef industry an additional $50 million dollars1 annually, according to Meat & Livestock Australia’s Manager for Genetics, Dr Rob Banks.

“Beef cattle producers are capturing increasing returns from industry investment in genetic improvement, and the gains are growing at a faster and faster rate,” Rob said. Between 1980 and 2008, the average genetic merit of BREEDPLAN bulls entering industry rose by about $27 (in today’s prices), in terms of impact on income and cost per cow joined. (See Figure 1) That rate of genetic progress has doubled between 1998 and 2008, but Rob said it is still a long way below what is possible. “For genetic improvement to be really transforming commercial returns – which it can – we need to lift the average rate of progress from about $1.95 per cow joined per year, to up over $7.50 per cow joined per year,” he said. “That sounds a lot, but it is quite feasible. There are now herds consistently making progress at over $5 per cow joined per year - those herds are literally driving genetic profit into their clients’ businesses.” Rob added that the Beef Information Nucleus programs coupled with greater use by stud breeders of elite young sires was expected to drive the genetic engine faster, to deliver bigger and better dividends for producers’ R&D dollars. “The fruits of genetics and genomics R&D are delivered to industry primarily through BREEDPLAN, and one of the useful features of BREEDPLAN is that it tracks genetic improvement over time,” Rob said. “In breaking down the national average genetic merit, the average southern BREEDPLAN bull today delivers $42 more per cow mated than back in 1980.” “Southern breeders have taken the opportunity to import genetically superior animals from overseas and there has been a strong focus on genetic improvement in southern breeds, especially Angus,” Rob said. 1

This amount is based on increasing the average rate of genetic progress from about $1.95 per cow joined per year, to $7.50 per cow joined per year (across national herd figures of about 10 million cows). 2

“Each of the breeds has a website where all bulls – young and old – are listed in searchable databases, with all their EBVs and $Index values. And upcoming sales are all listed too – so it’s easy to find a stud with bulls that will suit their operation.”

To keep increasing the rate of progress, Rob said stud breeders need to: n

make better breeding decisions by using the best bulls for traits that would make money for their clients


make better use of high merit young bulls


use the best bulls and replace them as soon as there is something better

He said that buying better genetics was also the easiest and most reliable way for commercial producers to improve their bottom line. “Commercial producers should look to buy bulls from breeders who have a strong track record of using BREEDPLAN and ideally, from herds that are making the most progress. They are the ones that will have more bulls with higher $Index values within their respective breeds.” “Buying the best bulls that they can afford with the highest EBVs and $Index figures for their production system and target market – and nature and BREEDPLAN will do all the hard work for them,” Rob said.

Weighted Average Genetic Merit Australian Beef Industry

Weighted Average $Index Merit

Figure 1

Dr Robert Banks


covering the 10 major breeds in Australia – Angus, Hereford, Shorthorn, Charolais, Limousin, Simmental, Brahman, Santa Gertrudis and Belmont Red.

The figure above illustrates the trend in overall average genetic merit across breeds (weighted by the contribution each breed makes to the total cattle population,) This analysis takes into account data going back to 1980


BREEDPLAN set to become even better


Professor Goddard said the Beef CRC proposes that predictions of breeding value from genetic markers, once extensively evaluated in cattle populations, will be fed directly into BREEDPLAN to generate an EBV that seamlessly incorporates DNA information with performance data.

ustralia’s own unique beef genetic evaluation scheme, BREEDPLAN is set to become even more important in future, as it is used as a vehicle to deliver DNA information to the Australian beef industry.

For the past 30 years, Australian beef producers have used BREEDPLAN Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) to accelerate genetic progress, tighten up breeding operations, improve productivity and increase prices for cattle sold for breeding and slaughter.

He said it has already been tested with the development of trial M Shear Force EBVs known as marker-assisted EBVs (EBV ) for Tenderness which were launched for the Brahman breed in 2008.

But Beef CRC Chief Scientist Professor Mike Goddard said the inclusion of DNA information in BREEDPLAN will further enhance the system and provide producers with even more information by which to select sires.

“Research tells us that meat tenderness is the most prized attribute among consumers. But previously we haven’t had a combined measure of whether an animal will produce tough or tender meat,” said Professor Goddard.

“There was a time when we thought that producers would simply DNA test their cattle and then use that information to determine the best way to manage their stock,” said Professor Goddard. “But now that we’re looking for hundreds, if not thousands, of markers for each trait, that scenario is looking less realistic.”

M “The EBV for Tenderness combines pedigree, measured performance of meat tenderness and correlated traits such as flight time with GeneSTAR™ DNA marker information to create the BREEDPLAN EBVM for Tenderness, which can then help produce genetically superior animals for tenderness.”

Professor Goddard said incorporating DNA markers into BREEDPLAN EBVs will take some of the confusion out of which animals to select. “Producers won’t have to worry about DNA markers at all. They’ll just select animals with the EBVs they think are most appropriate to their own breeding objectives,” he said

Professor Goddard says rather than ‘a’ gene test, what producers will see is a calculation based on the extensive genetic information from DNA markers that provides an accurate prediction of breeding value for important traits. “Producers won’t be seeing ‘a’ marker for female fertility for example. They’ll probably see a prediction of breeding value based on a large panel of markers,” he said. While EBVs are already used to record information on an animal’s performance for traits such as marbling, net feed intake (NFI) and fertility, the new-style genetic markers will incorporate this information with genome-wide genetic predictions and phenotype information collected by producers.

Professor Mike

This will give cattle breeders the most accurate genetic evaluations of their cattle possible.



Expert advocates the A,B,‘P’s for genetic testing


NA marker technologies promise much but producers should apply the three ‘P’s to identify whether the technology is right for their businesses, a visiting US genetics extension specialist says. Dr Alison Van Eenennaam, from the University of California, says the questions producers should ask themselves are: Is it possible, is it practical and is it profitable?

“DNA marker technology is in the development stage for the beef industry,” Dr Van Eenennaam says. “The technology is evolving at a rapid rate and it is difficult to keep up to speed with the latest developments.” Until now farmers have been breeding cattle based on their performance and that of relatives – without being able to take a detailed look ‘under the bonnet’ of the animals’ DNA to pinpoint the genes that produce a good effect.

perspective, does the DNA information accelerate the rate of genetic progress sufficiently to pay for the cost of testing? The answer to this question will depend on the selection index and attributes of the seedstock herd and its customers. Ideally genetic test information will be included into estimates of genetic merit (EBV).

In the 21st century, mapping of the bovine’s genome is helping to increase the accuracy and range of these breeding predictions. The Beef CRC has undertaken decades of work identifying new traits and their associated heritability. To help producers and extension specialists better understand how to use these technologies, Dr Van Eenennaam advises to think of the three ‘P’s:

The Beef CRC has an active genomics research program to identify DNA tests that will account for at least 15 percent of genetic variation for a range of important production traits such as feed efficiency, beef tenderness, marbling and female reproductive rates.

Is it possible? What information is there that the DNA test works? The Beef CRC has worked to independently test new panels of DNA markers in Australian populations and validate that tests are performing in accordance with the claims of the companies selling the tests. Is it practical? What information is provided by the test and how will it be used? For example, is it worth investing in a genetic test that improves the accuracy of genetic merit estimates for marbling score? A stud breeder using DNA information to inform selection decisions may have different commercial uses for DNA technologies than a feedlotter using the information to sort groups of cattle. Is it profitable? The most important question to ask of DNA testing is whether it is profitable? From a genetic improvement 5

Obtaining Maximum Benefit from DNA tests for Production Traits


“Genomics Masterclass” workshop was conducted by the Beef CRC, Sheep CRC and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) in Armidale on 30-31 March 2010 for specialists working in the education and breeding technology fields for the beef, sheep and dairy industries. All members of the SBTS & TBTS teams attended this workshop. During the workshop, a reference group was formed representing the three different species called the “Cattle & Sheep Genomics Research, Development & Extension Group”.


Review policies and major issues related to DNA-assisted selection, as they develop in the sheep and cattle industries


Ensure that educators and extension agents are given upto-date information to deliver the appropriate messages


Be a source of informed comment on genomic issues affecting the beef and sheep industries

As their first role, the group developed the following statement outlining the views of those in attendance as to how the beef, sheep and dairy industries can gain the most benefit from

The objectives of this group will be to:

High Density 50K DNA test for Black Angus Released Pfizer Animal Genetics has recently released a new DNA test for the Black Angus breed in Australia. The DNA test is based on a higher density SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) chip

integration of the MVPs from this DNA test into the Angus GROUP BREEDPLAN evaluation to create marker assisted EBVs. This will enable producers to get the most benefit from this technology.

where more than 50,000 SNPs are used to calculate Molecular Value Predictions (MVPs) for 13 different traits.

While the new High Density 50K marker test is applicable only to Black Angus cattle at this stage, Pfizer is now undertaking further research to develop similar tests for other Bos Taurus and Bos Indicus breeds. Also in early stages of development are a dairy-specific product, and a feedlot product for commercial animal selection and management. This will focus on a more specific panel of markers linked to feedlot profit-drivers like average daily gain, dry matter intake, net feed intake and marbling score.

The traits for which MVPs are calculated include: Calving Ease Direct

Calving Ease Daughters Birth Weight Weaning Weight Milk Average Daily Gain Carcase Weight

Rib Fat

Eye Muscle Area Marbling Tenderness Dry Matter Intake Net Feed Intake

The new DNA test is available at an introductory price of $180 per animal for samples received prior to November 30th. Loyalty offers also exist for customers who have previously tested animals with Pfizer of $149 per animal for samples received prior to July 31st. Post November 30th, the test will be available for $195 per animal. Note: all prices were correct at the time of writing, are GST exclusive and apply to DNA samples submitted via Angus Australia. Prices may also vary depending on the number of samples submitted.

Further details on the new DNA test are available from the Pfizer Animal Genetics website

The Animals Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), Pfizer Animal Genetics and Angus Australia are now working on the 6

that the correct emphasis can be given to the trait using appropriate selection index procedures. The EBVs or ASBVs containing DNA marker information should simply be called EBVs or ASBVs with nothing to distinguish that they may have molecular information included. In all other aspects of interpretation and reporting the breeding values should be treated the same as conventional breeding values and reporting should include accuracies and run dates”

DNA tests for production traits. “The Cattle & Sheep Genomics Research, Development & Extension Group believes that information from DNA tests will provide maximum benefit for breeders and commercial producers when incorporated as part of the scientifically proven and industry accepted tools for communicating genetic merit, namely Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) or Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs), derived from the national genetic evaluation systems currently operating for beef and sheep, BREEDPLAN and Sheep Genetics. For some traits of economic importance it is likely that DNA markers will provide all or predominant information, however it still should be the aim to incorporate this information into the multi-trait genetic evaluations so

New Australian DNA test for the Polled Gene

GST), which is further discounted if the tests are done through Breed Societies or in bulk. The aim is to validate the test’s accuracy in greater numbers and different breeds of cattle, and to collect information on the frequency of the poll gene in those animals.

The Beef CRC, CSIRO, Meat and Livestock Australia and the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), in collaboration with the University of Queensland, have recently announced the release of a DNA test that accurately predicts polledness in beef cattle. The test has proven highly accurate in several breeds of cattle in research trials conducted across Australia and is now available at a reduced cost to producers who are willing to assist in validating the accuracy of the test in wider cattle populations.

To provide members with more information regarding the DNA test that has been developed, SBTS & TBTS will be facilitating a webinar on August 23rd at 8.00 pm AEST. Staff from the Beef CRC and University of Queensland will be on hand to present information and answer questions regarding topics such as:

The test has been developed to assist producers who wish to increase the proportion of polled animals within their herd by enabling the identification of bulls which are true polled (that is, the animal carries two copies of the polled gene – homozygous polled). Distinguishing between homozygous polled bulls and heterozygous polled bulls (those animals carrying one copy of the horned gene and can sire horned offspring) will accelerate introduction of polled phenotypes into Australian beef cattle herds.


Why has the DNA test been developed and how does it work? What benefits does it offer to seedstock and commercial beef enterprises? n How accurate is the DNA test? n What do interested producers need to do to test their animals? n

Producers interested in attending the webinar can register by going to the webinars page on the SBTS or TBTS website. Simply go to the SBTS or TBTS home page and select “Webinars” from the menu on the left hand side.

As the polled characteristic is dominant over horns, currently you might select a bull that is polled, but you won’t know until he has progeny on the ground whether he is true polled – carries a double copy of the polled gene. An animal that is polled may possess a copy of the recessive gene for horns, and still throw a proportion of horned calves.

WEBINAR DETAILS Title New Australian DNA Test for the Polled Gene Date Monday August 23rd Time NSW, QLD, VIC & TAS - 8.00 pm NT & SA - 7.30 pm WA - 6.00 pm Duration 45 minutes

The test will be offered by University of Queensland’s Animal Genetics Laboratory (UQ AGL) at a cost of $33.00 (including 7

Industry Sires Genotyping Project


he Beef CRC, in conjunction with Meat and Livestock Australia, is currently undertaking a project to collect DNA genotypes on approximately 1700 sires that have been widely used within the beef industry.

uses, the first function of the genotype data will be to enable the independent validation of Beef CRC developed prediction equations for genomic breeding values for a number of traits in each of the major beef breeds within Australia.

The Beef CRC are asking seedstock members to donate one or two straws of semen from sires with reasonable accuracies (above 60%) for their BREEDPLAN carcase EBVs such as EMA, P8 fat or IMF, or if no semen is available and the sire is still alive, a large sample of tail hairs (at least 50 hairs with roots

Further information regarding the process members need to follow to donate semen to the Industry Sires Genotyping Project will be circulated by participating Breed Societies shortly.

attached). Once the samples have been received, high quality DNA will be extracted by the University of Queensland and one sample prepared for long term storage for future research. The other sample will be sent to a Beef CRC collaborating genomic laboratory (CSIRO or DPI Victoria) where a 50k SNP chip will be used to genotype the animal. The genotypes will then be stored on a National Beef Genomics database where they will serve as a valuable resource for the development of DNA based technologies. Amongst other

Enhancements to Calving Ease Analysis March 2010


nhancements have been made to the Calving Ease analysis that is conducted by BREEDPLAN. This will particularly effect the genetic evaluation that is conducted for breeds where both Calving Ease EBVs and Selection Index values are calculated. In particular, the GROUP analyses for the Angus, Charolais, Hereford, Limousin, Murray Grey, Shorthorn and Simmental breeds. The enhancements resulted from investigations by ABRI and AGBU into several queries received from BREEDPLAN members. This investigation showed that animals within the GROUP BREEDPLAN analyses for the above breeds that previously did not have Calving Ease EBVs calculated may have been penalised when their selection index values were calculated. The enhancements that have been implemented result in animals previously being disadvantaged now having index values that better reflect their relative genetic potential.

For further information regarding these enhancements, please contact your designated SBTS or TBTS technical officer. 8

Angus Trial Structural Soundness EBVs released March 2010


ince cattle were first domesticated, it has been recognised that animals should conform to certain structural requirements to ensure high levels of production and adaptability to the environment. When structural integrity is not maintained, substantial financial loss can occur. These losses could be due to such things as complete bull breakdown, bulls not being able to cover the allocated cows resulting in lower conception rates, steers being unable to finish a long feeding program, or cows with badly structured udders being unable to rear their calves properly. Importantly, structural soundness is heritable and can be improved by selection. To assist members in improving the structural soundness of their animals, Angus Australia (AA) has recently published Trial EBVs for Structural Soundness. The EBVs have been produced for five leg and feet traits - Front Feet Angle, Rear Feet Angle, Front Feet Claw Set, Rear Leg Hind View, Rear Leg Side View.

Forty Angus herds submitted sufficient data to generate the Trial EBVs with structure scores only accepted from technicians accredited by the Performance Beef Breeders’ Association. Scores were gathered on 9000 Angus bulls and females of 750 days of age or less. The 9000 Angus contributed 37,472 records to the database and just over 75% of these came from bulls.

The EBVs provide estimates of genetic differences between animals in the percentage of progeny that are expected to have desirable structure for a particular structural trait, with higher EBVs indicating a greater percentage of progeny with desirable structure. For example, a bull with a Front Feet Angle EBV of +25.3 would be expected to on average produce 41% more progeny with desirable front feet angle than a bull with an EBV of -56.1 [ie. 25.3 – (-56.1) x ½]. Animals with very low (ie. negative) EBVs for each trait are also identified with an additional flag to indicate the nature of their structural fault.

The Trial EBVs are available from the Angus Australia EBV Enquiry facility for animals that have been assessed by an accredited assessor and have EBVs with an accuracy of 40% or more. For further information, please contact staff at SBTS or TBTS .

Monthly GROUP BREEDPLAN analyses for Angus Australia


ngus Australia have recently joined the Australian Brahman Breeders Association, the Charolais Society of Australia and the Red Angus Society in upgrading the software used to manage their pedigree and performance database and are now using ABRI’s new generation of breed registry software known as ILR2. The new software includes several new features such as the running of monthly GROUP BREEDPLAN analyses and production of enhanced BREEDPLAN reports. This will significantly enhance the BREEDPLAN service that is provided to members of Angus

BREEDPLAN. It is anticipated that other Breed Societies will progressively upgrade to the ILR2 software over the coming years. 9

Beef CRC Research into Maternal Productivity


will be calculated. It will also enable the extent to which EBVs vary with the conditions that cattle are run (e.g. fed up or pushed hard) to be tested.

he Beef CRC is currently conducting a research project to develop new knowledge which will enable beef producers to select for improved cow efficiency, while determining the optimum balance between selection for end product (carcase) traits and components of maternal productivity in their breeding programs.

The research station project being run at Vasse WA and Struan SA is intensive and involves raising females under controlled stocking rates to provide information on feed efficiency as well as more detailed measures of reproductive performance. All of the measurements taken on industry herds are also being recorded on experimental cattle on research stations. Females that are genetically divergent in trial NFI or rib fat EBVs are being run under either a high or low stocking rate such that each research station has animals that are either high or low for fat and trial NFI EBVs under each of the stocking regimes. The project also measures group weekly feed intake. This will enable differences in maternal efficiency (kg calf weaned / MJ energy consumed by cow and calf ) to be calculated for the different groups of animals under different management regimes. The data from the research stations will also be utilized to enable the simulation of ‘what if ’ scenarios. This allows the effects of selection for different traits such as increased muscling, decreased feed intake and altered fat distribution on maternal productivity in varied environments to be determined.

This project was undertaken in response to industry concerns about the impact that adoption of selection strategies influencing body composition (e.g. possibly via selection for improved feed efficiency or increased yield) were having on breeding herd efficiency, especially in variable nutritional environments. The research project involves two cattle projects being run simultaneously. The industry herd project involves ongoing performance recording on approximately 8000 BREEDPLAN recorded heifers (comprising 5000 Angus, 3000 Hereford) from conception to their second calf. The females are being recorded for live weight, hip height and body condition score measures as well as ultrasound scans for eye muscle area and fatness (Rib, P8 and IMF) four times over a two year period. This will enable the amount of body tissue accumulated or mobilised depending on feed supply (pasture through the year) and energy demand (pregnancy and lactation) to be quantified. Detailed reproduction and culling records are also being kept. Heritabilities for new traits like mobilisation of reserves and estimation of genetic correlations between cow traits (days to calving, milk production and culling records), young body composition (fat and muscle) and structural assessment scores

While much of the work involved in this research project is still continuing, early results are now becoming available. The most recent results have been published in a booklet titled the “Maternal Journal”. A copy of this publication can be downloaded from the Beef CRC website (http://www.


Accessing Support in Application of Genetic Technologies


hrough the SBTS and TBTS projects, Australian seedstock members have access to ongoing support and assistance in the use and understanding of the different genetic technologies that are available, such as BREEDPLAN, BreedObject Selection Indexes, Internet Solutions, TakeStock & DNA based tools. To access technical support, simply contact the designated member of the SBTS and TBTS team that is responsible for providing assistance to your Breed Society. Assistance will primarily be provided through phone and email consultation, supplemented by property visits where required. A range of helpful support material is also available from the SBTS ( and TBTS ( websites. Support material ranges from an extensive range of easy to read tip sheets through to more detailed booklets that provide an in depth guide to applying the different genetic technologies within your herd. The websites are also regularly updated with information about upcoming SBTS & TBTS events.



Andrew Byrne

Hereford Murray Grey

(02) 6773 3357

Christian Duff

Charolais Red Angus Shorthorn Simmental

(02) 6773 2472

Philip Mann

Belmont Red Braford Brahman Brangus Charbray Droughtmaster Santa Gertrudis Senepol Simbrah

(07) 4927 6066

Ashlee Austin

Blonde d’Aquitaine Devon Red Poll Salers South Devon Gelbvieh

(02) 6773 3056

Alex McDonald


(02) 6771 1648

Peter Parnell


(02) 6772 3011

Michael Beattie


(02) 6773 3355

Collection of Flight Time Measurements

Flight Time is measured objectively using two light beams and is the time taken for an animal to travel approximately 2.0 metres after leaving the crush. For the most effective information, flight time measurements should be recorded at weaning. The flight time measurements recorded previously on animals have shown a moderate heritability, indicating that selection for sires with low flight time would result in improved temperament in progeny. Any members of Tropical Breed Societies interested in recording flight time on their animals should contact staff at TBTS to discuss both the issues involved and the availability of flight time equipment.


embers of the Santa Gertrudis Breeders (Australia) Association and Australian Brahman Breeders Association are currently being encouraged to collect flight time measurements on their animals to enhance the Trial Flight Time EBVs that are being calculated within the Santa Gertrudis and Brahman breeds. Members of other Tropical Breed Societies are also encouraged to consider collecting these measurements so that the generation of Flight Time EBVs on their animals can be investigated. Flight Time has been shown to be a quick, easy to measure and effective means of objectively assessing temperament in beef cattle. Importantly, research has also demonstrated a relationship between superior temperament and increased meat quality, meaning that flight time has been proposed as a suitable method of improving meat tenderness, particularly in tropically adapted cattle.


BREEDPLAN:From Go to Whoa! Webinar Course


he “BREEDPLAN – From Go to Whoa!” webinar course was conducted throughout June and July with all sessions extremely well attended. The webinar course was aimed at both existing and prospective BREEDPLAN members and outlined the performance recording requirements of seedstock herds participating in BREEDPLAN.



re you new to, or thinking about, joining BREEDPLAN? Or perhaps you have been a member of BREEDPLAN


for a while and would like a refresher

Topics included why record with BREEDPLAN, what steps do you need to follow to start recording, understanding each BREEDPLAN EBV, what performance do you need to record and how to record it, and what options are available to submit your performance to BREEDPLAN.

webinar course over six weeks, with a different

staff on a particular topic.


topic each week, aiming at informing and up

with the presenter during the session

BREEDPLAN, what steps do you need to follow to

by typing questions into a specified

start recording, understanding each BREEDPLAN

to submit your performance to BREEDPLAN. The

computer screen while listening You also have the ability to interact

BREEDPLAN. The topics include, why record with

how to record it, and what options are available

You view the presentation on your through your computer speakers.

skilling members in performance recording for

EBV, what performance do you need to record and

go to a website each week and watch a live presentation by SBTS or TBTS

course outlining your performance recording requirements. SBTS and TBTS will be running a

The webinar course will allow you to



Importantly, you only require a) an average internet connection and b)

best part is you can access all of this information

the ability to hear sound from your

without even leaving the comfort of your home!

computer to be able to participate in

For those that may have missed the webinar course, copies of the presentations are available from the SBTS and TBTS websites. To access these presentations, click on the “webinars” menu item on the SBTS or TBTS homepage. From within the webinars page, simply select the title of the presentation that you wish to view. If you have any difficulty viewing the presentations (nb. some of the files are quite large), please contact staff at SBTS or TBTS for assistance.

COST: There is no cost for attending the webinar course. It is completely free.

the webinar course.


You have the option of attending all sessions, or picking individual sessions that you might be particularly interested in.

New Technical Officer


n January 2010, SBTS & TBTS welcomed an additional staff member to the team with the appointment of Ashlee Austin. Ashlee will be based in Armidale, NSW and will fill the role of Technical Officer to the South Devon, Gelbvieh, Devon, Red Poll, Blonde d’Aquitaine and Salers breeds. As well as her work with SBTS, Ashlee maintains a role within ABRI where she is responsible for processing the BREEDPLAN performance data for a number of breeds as well as being Executive Officer for the Lincoln Red Cattle Society. Prior to joining ABRI in 2009, Ashlee completed a Bachelor of Agriculture, majoring in Animal Production, at the University of New England. She originates from the Central Coast of NSW and has been involved with the showing of stud cattle and steers for the past six years. During this time Ashlee has also gained experience in feedlots throughout Southern Queensland and many commercial and stud herds in NSW.

If you would like any further information on SBTS and TBTS please contact:

Southern Beef Technology Services Telephone: (02) 6773 3555 Email: Web:


Tropical Beef Technology Services Telephone: (07) 4927 6066 Email: Web: