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WINTER

2015

UPDATE

Meat Standards Australia Breeding for Improved MSA Compliance & Increased MSA Index Values

M

eat Standards Australia (MSA), an eating quality grading system for Australian beef and sheep meat, has continued to grow in recent times with more than 3 million cattle being presented for grading using MSA standards and pathways during the 2013-14 financial year. The increase in cattle numbers is complemented by strong growth in MSA producer registrations, processor uptake and expansion, as well as an increase in consumer awareness of MSA. Over 40 processors are now grading MSA beef, with prices received for MSA yearling cattle being consistently higher than non-MSA cattle. During the 2013-14 financial year, the average premium for MSA yearling cattle in NSW and Queensland, across all weight ranges, was $0.29/kg, representing a valuable opportunity for producers supplying these markets.

Breeding for MSA Programs There are many factors which affect the suitability of an individual carcase for MSA programs. While many of these factors are heavily influenced by animal handling and management onfarm, during transport and at the abattoir, several components are also influenced by the genetics of the animal. Opportunities consequently exist to improve the suitability of animals for marketing into MSA programs through the adoption of suitable breeding and selection strategies.

Understanding MSA Compliance Cattle consigned to MSA must comply with a number of minimum grading specifications; otherwise they will be downgraded to non-MSA product and won’t receive a premium.

To be considered MSA compliant, carcases must meet the following specifications: n

AUSMEAT Meat Colour Score of 1B to 3

n

Muscle pH of equal to or less than 5.70

n

Minimum rib fat of 3mm

n

Adequate fat coverage over the entire carcase

Carcases graded during 2013-14 across Australia achieved 92.6% compliance to MSA specifications. Meat colour, and to a slightly lesser extent pH, were the greatest reasons for non-compliance. Only a small percentage of carcases did not meet the minimum MSA requirement of 3mm rib fat.

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


Continued ... Meat Standards Australia

WINTER

2015

UPDATE in this issue Meat Standards Australia

Breeding for Improved MSA

Angus BREEDPLAN Now Incorporating Information from Three Genomic Products

1

6

Producer Case Study: ALC Brahmans. The Worth of Genetics From A Producer Perspective 8

New Wagyu Fullblood Terminal Selection Index

10

Figure 1: During the 2013-14 financial year, the average premium for MSA yearling cattle in NSW and Queensland, across all weight ranges, was $0.29/kg, representing a valuable opportunity for producers supplying these

In addition to MSA specifications, some processors and brands impose further specifications based on their own market requirements. For example, processors may have specifications around carcase weight, dentition and fat colour. Throughout 201314, an additional 7% of MSA graded cattle did not meet company specifications.

Selecting Genetics for Improved MSA Compliance The different components affecting whether carcases meet MSA compliance specifications are all influenced to some extent by genetics and can be improved through the selection of animals with appropriate genetics.

1. Meat Colour & pH Importance of Considering Individual EBVs When Using Dark meat colour (ie. over an AUSMEAT score of 3), commonly referred to as ‘dark Selection Indexes 11 cutting’, is associated with low muscle glycogen levels in the live animal prior to slaughter, thus resulting in an unappealing product for consumers. Similarly, if there is only a small amount of muscle glycogen present pre-slaughter, pH may not decline to the required Speckle Park International Inc. level. Join SBTS 13 Alex McDonald Wins RW Vincent Award

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Ultrasound Scanner Accreditation Completed

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Optimise Joining Using MateSel

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Accessing Support in Application of Genetic Technologies

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Maintaining glycogen levels pre-slaughter is consequently of utmost importance and can be achieved by minimising stress and/or activity both on-farm and in the lead up to slaughter. Cattle with poor temperament have an adverse effect on the cattle around them, all of which results in higher pH carcases and a higher incidence of dark cutting. Selection for improved temperament can be achieved by ensuring that all animals used in a breeding program have acceptable temperament, and when available, selecting animals with superior Docility EBVs. Docility EBVs are estimates of genetic differences in the percentage of an animal’s progeny that will be scored with acceptable temperament, with higher EBVs associated with superior temperament. For example, an animal with an EBV of +20% would be expected to on average produce a greater percentage of progeny that have acceptable temperament than a bull with an EBV of -2%. Research has also demonstrated that animals with higher muscle content, as defined by size of carcass eye muscle area (EMA) adjusted for hot standard carcass weight, is strongly associated with reduced incidence of dark cutting. A reduction in the incidence 2


of dark cutting in high muscled cattle also complements the

weighted to account for the differences in the percentage of

other advantages of muscular cattle, such as increased retail

the total carcase that each cut represents. The MSA index is

beef yield and processing efficiency.

independent of any processing inputs and is calculated using

Selection for increased muscle content in a standard weight

only attributes influenced by pre-slaughter production.

carcase can be achieved by selection of animals with higher

The MSA Index provides beef producers with an opportunity

EMA EBVs. EMA EBVs are estimates of the genetic differences

to benchmark the impact of genetic and management changes

between animals in eye muscle area at the 12/13th rib site in

on their herd’s predicted eating quality across time, even

a standard weight steer carcase, with higher EBVs associated

when they are processed in different locations, by different

with larger eye muscle area. For example, an animal with an

processors, or at different times. In situations where a premium

EMA EBV of +4.4 mm would be expected to produce calves

is paid for carcases with superior eating quality, the MSA Index

with larger eye muscle area than an animal with an EMA EBV

also provides a valuable opportunity to increase sale price.

of +1.0 mm, relative to carcase weight.

Factors Underlying the MSA Index

2. Rib Fat Thickness & Fat Distribution

The key factors impacting on eating quality that are influenced

Rib fat thickness is the measured depth of subcutaneous fat

by the producer include:

over the quartered rib site between the 5th and 13th ribs.

n

A covering of fat is needed to protect the high value primal

Tropical breed content, verified or determined by hump height measurement

cuts from rapid chilling, which can cause toughening, and to enhance eating quality and appearance.

n

In addition to minimum fat levels, a key requirement for all

n Ossification

beef markets is to have adequate cover over the high-value

n

Hormonal Growth Promotant (HGP) Status

n

Milk Fed Vealer Category

n

Saleyard Status

n

Rib Fat

n

Hot Standard Carcase Weight (HSCW)

cuts along the loin (back) and rump. MSA requires carcases to have adequate fat coverage over all major primals, with an area of inadequate fat distribution not being greater than 10cm x 10cm over each individual primal. Selection for adequate rib fat and fat distribution can be

MSA Marbling Score

achieved by selection of animals with appropriate Rib and

n Sex

Rump Fat EBVs. Rib and Rump Fat EBVs are estimates of the

The effect that each of the individual factors has on MSA

genetic differences between animals in fat depth at the 12/13th

Index varies. Whether an animal has been treated with an

rib and P8 rump site respectively in a standard weight steer

HGP, whether an animal is a milk fed vealer and/or whether

carcase, with higher EBVs associated with greater fat depth.

an animal has been sold directly to slaughter have a very high

For example, an animal with a Rib Fat EBV of +0.4 mm would

impact on the overall MSA Index value of a carcase, followed

be expected to produce calves with more fat than an animal

by MSA Marble Score, hump height, tropical breed content

with a Rib Fat EBV of -0.6 mm, relative to carcase weight.

and ossification. Rib fat, HSCW and Sex have relatively lower impacts on the overall MSA Index value. See Table 1.

Breeding for Increased MSA Index Values

Selecting Genetics to Improve MSA Index Score

In addition to MSA compliance, all animals meeting MSA

Whilst many of the factors that affect the MSA Index are

grading specifications are now provided with MSA Index

heavily influenced by animal management and handling, in

values, and increasingly processors are offering additional

a similar fashion to improved MSA compliance, there is also

price premiums for animals with superior MSA Indexes.

an opportunity to increase MSA Index values through genetic

Understanding MSA Index

selection.

The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) Index, expressed as a

1. Marbling

single number ranging from 30 to 80, predicts the eating quality

MSA Marble Score is an assessment of the intramuscular fat deposits

of an individual beef carcase. A higher MSA Index indicates

at the quartered site between the 5th and 13th ribs. MSA Marble Score

that the carcase has a higher predicted eating quality.

provides an indication of the distribution and piece size, as well as the

The MSA Index value that a carcase receives is based on

amount of marbling. MSA marble scores range from 100 to 1190 in

the eating quality of 39 different cut by cook combinations,

increments of 10, with higher scores indicating greater marbling. 3


As ossification score decreases by 10, the MSA Index potentially increases by 0.6 Index units, or rather, a decrease in ossification score of 100 equates to an increase in MSA Index of 6 units. Therefore, younger animals with lower levels of ossification tend to have a higher MSA index values than older animals with higher ossification values.

As MSA Marble Score increases by 10, the MSA Index has the potential to increase by 0.15 Index units, or rather an increase in MSA Marble Score of 100 (roughly equivalent to a 1 unit increase in AUSMEAT marble score) equates to a 1.5 unit increase in MSA Index. Selection for improved MSA marble score can be achieved by selecting animals with higher Intramuscular Fat (IMF) EBVs. Intramuscular Fat EBVs are estimates of genetic differences between animals in intramuscular fat at the 12/13th rib site

Selection for lower ossification scores can be achieved by selecting animals with higher 200 Day Growth, 400 Day Weight and 600 Day Weight EBVs, as calves which grow more quickly will reach target live weights at a younger age with lower ossification score. 200 Day Growth EBV, 400 Day Weight EBV and 600 Day Weight EBV estimate the genetic differences between animals in live weight at 200, 400 and 600 days respectively due to an animal’s growth genetics. In all three cases, higher EBVs are associated with heavier weights at the respective age. For example, an animal with a 400 Day Weight EBV of +60 kg would be expected to produce heavier progeny at 400 days of age than an animal with a 400 Day Weight EBV of +20 kg.

in a standard weight steer carcase, with higher IMF EBVs associated with greater marbling in the carcase. For example, an animal with an IMF EBV of +2.9% would be expected to produce progeny with more marbling in a standard carcase than the progeny of an animal with an IMF EBV of +0.2%. 2. Ossification Ossification is the process whereby the cartilage present around the bones changes into bone as the animal matures, and is a measure of the physiological maturity of the carcase. Although it can be roughly associated with the animal’s chronological age, ossification takes into account the entire developmental lifespan of the animal which may be affected by nutrition, sickness and/or temperament. Ossification scores range from 100 to 590 in increments of 10, with lower scores indicating less physiological maturity.

3. Rib Fat Whilst of utmost importance in determining whether carcases are compliant to MSA specifications, rib fat thickness also has an impact on MSA Index.

Carcase Imput

Size of Effect on the MSA Index (units)

Clarification of Effect

Relative importance of these traits in changing the MSA Index*

HGP status

5

The MSA Index of carcases with no HGP implant is around 5 Index units higher

Very High

Milk-fed vealer

4

The MSA Index of milk fed vealer carcases is around 4 index units higher

Very High

Saleyard

5

Carcases which were consigned directly to slaughter and NOT processed through a saleyard have an MSA Index around 5 index units higher

Very High

MSA Marbling

0.15

As MSA marbling score increases by 10, the MSA Index increases by around 0.15 index units

Very High

Hump height (for cattle greater than 0% TBC)**

-0.7

As hump height increases by 10mm, the MSA Index decreases by around 0.7 units in carcases which have no TBC, hump height has no impact on MSA Index

Very High

Tropical Breed Content (TBC)**

0% = 0 12% = -1.6 18% = -3.2 25% = -3.9 38% = -4.7 50% = -5.2 75% = -5.5 100% = -6.3

As declared TBC content increases from 0 to 100%, the MSA Index decreases by up to 6.3 units

High

Ossification score

0.6

As Ossification score decreases by 10, the MSA Index increases by 0.6 index units

High

Rib Fat

0.1

As Rib Fat increases by 1mm, the MSA Index increases by 0.1 index units

Medium

Hot standard carcase weight (HSCW)

0.01

As HSCW increases by 1kg, the MSA Index increases by <0.01 index units

Low

Sex

0.3

With low ossification values, females have a higher index value than steers by around 0.3 index units

Low

The values presented in Table 1 are the average effect calculated for 2.8 million carcases across all states of Australia. * Relative importance indicates the size of effect changing that trait will have on the MSA Index within a herd, if all other traits remained the same. Some traits may have a large impact but are difficult for a producer to alter. ** Hump height can be used in conjunction with carcase weight as the determinant or verification of TBC during MSA grading.

4


Figure 2 : Carcases graded during 2013-14 across Australia achieved 92.6% compliance to MSA specifications. Meat colour, and to a slightly lesser extent pH, were the greatest reasons for non-compliance.

A 1mm increase in rib fat corresponds to a potential n increase

between animals in hot standard carcase weight, with higher

in the MSA Index of 0.1 Index units, or rather, an increase of

Carcase Weight EBVs associated with heavier carcases. For

10mm in fat depth equates to an increase in MSA Index of 1

example, an animal with a Carcase Weight EBV of +60 kg

unit.

would be expected to produce progeny with heavier carcases

Selection for increased rib fat can be achieved by selection of

than an animal with a Carcase Weight EBV of +30 kg.

animals with higher Rib Fat EBVs. Rib Fat EBVs are estimates

Take Home Messages

of the genetic differences between animals in fat depth at the

Whilst many of the factors that affect the eating quality of

12/13th rib site in a standard weight steer carcase, with higher

a carcase and its suitability for MSA programs are heavily

EBVs associated with greater fat depth.

influenced by animal handling and management, many factors

Whilst a higher level of rib fat is favourable for superior eating

are also influenced by the genetics of an animal.

quality and MSA index, this benefit needs to be balanced with

Selection of animals with acceptable temperament, higher

the negative effect that higher levels of rib fat may have on

Docility EBVs, higher Eye Muscle Area EBVs and appropriate

carcase yield.

Rib & Rump Fat EBVs can improve MSA compliance, whilst

4. Carcase Weight

selection of animals with higher IMF EBVs to increase marbling

Whilst an important specification in most livestock grids,

score, higher Growth EBVs to reduce ossification score, higher

carcase weight only has a small impact on MSA Index, with

Rib Fat EBVs to increase carcase fatness and higher Carcase

MSA calculating that as HSCW increases by 1kg, the MSA

Weight EBVs to increase HSCW at the same maturity, will

Index will potentially increase by less than 0.01 Index units.

increase MSA Index values and thus increase the eating quality

In other words, an increase in HSCW of 100kg equates to an

of your herd.

increase in MSA Index of 1 unit.

To further discuss breeding for MSA programs, please contact

To select for heavier carcasses at the same maturity (ossification),

staff at SBTS and TBTS. More information about Meat

animals with higher Carcase Weight EBVs should be selected.

Standards Australia is also available from the MLA website (www.mla.com.au).

Carcase Weight EBVs are estimates of the genetic differences 5


Angus BREEDPLAN Now Incorporating Information from Three Genomic Products

A

ngus breeders now have access to a more comprehensive range of genomic based tests for use within their breeding programs following the

Table 1 - Traits for which Genomic Predictions are incorporated in Angus BREEDPLAN

incorporation of genomic predictions from two additional genomic products into Angus BREEDPLAN in the June 2015 Angus BREEDPLAN analysis. With the introduction of the two additional products, Angus BREEDPLAN now incorporates genomic predictions from three different genomic products:

n

Zoetis HD50K for Angus

n

GeneSeek GGP for Angus

n

BeefCRC for Angus

The genomic predictions are combined with any pedigree and performance information that has been collected to calculate Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for Angus animals.

Research Conducted by Animal Genetics & Breeding Unit To facilitate the incorporation of the genomic predictions into Angus BREEDPLAN, the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU) in Armidale has undertaken research to determine the appropriate emphasis that should be placed on the genomic information from each product in the calculation of the BREEDPLAN EBVs. The research followed a similar process for each genomic product and examined the relationship (or genetic correlation) between the genomic prediction and the performance

Zoetis HD50K for Angus

Calving Ease Direct Birth Weight Gestation Length 200 Day Growth 400 Day Weight 600 Day Weight Mature Cow Weight Milk Scrotal Size Carcase Weight Eye Muscle Area Rib Fat Rump Fat Intramuscular Fat

GeneSeek GGP for Angus

Birth Weight 200 Day Weight 400 Day Weight Mature Cow Weight Milk Scrotal Size Carcase Weight Eye Muscle Area Intramuscular Fat

Beef CRC for Angus

Carcase Weight Rib Fat Rump Fat Intramuscular Fat

(or phenotypic) information that has been recorded with BREEDPLAN for each respective trait.

that would be generated if the EBV was calculated from only

Traits Incorporated in Angus BREEDPLAN

the genomic information (ie. there was no other information recorded with BREEDPLAN).

Based on the results of the research and the subsequent

The accuracy of the EBV that would be generated for each

recommendations provided by AGBU, genomic predictions

trait from the genomic predictions alone for each product is

for the traits listed in Table 1 are incorporated in Angus BREEDPLAN for each of the genomic products.

outlined in Table 2.

Emphasis Given to Genomic Predictions When Incorporating in Angus BREEDPLAN

Additional Accuracy Provided by Inclusion of Genomic Predictions in Angus BREEDPLAN

The emphasis given to the genomic predictions within Angus

Table 2 provides the accuracy of the BREEDPLAN EBV that

BREEDPLAN can be described as the accuracy of the EBV

would be generated from the genomic prediction alone. 6


Table 2 - Accuracy of BREEDPLAN EBV Calculated from Genomic Prediction Alone Trait Calving Ease Direct Birth Weight Gestation Length 200 Day Growth 400 Day Weight 600 Day Weight Mature Cow Weight Milk Scrotal Size Carcase Weight Eye Muscle Area Rib Fat Rump Fat Intramuscular Fat

Zoetis HD50K for Angus

GeneSeek GGP for Angus

41% 46% 56% 43% 50% 56% 59% 47% 62% 42% 33% 42% 35% 27%

- 64% - 39% 32% - 45% 33% 60% 27% 54% - - 40%

In practice, the genomic prediction is incorporated with the pedigree and performance recorded with BREEDPLAN, with the additional accuracy provided by the incorporation of the genomic prediction differing subject to the accuracy of the animalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existing EBV.

As is evident from the table, the most additional accuracy is provided from all genomic products in situations where an animalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existing EBV has low accuracy, such as: When an animal is very young

n

For traits that are hard to measure, or traits that can not be measured prior to an animal entering the breeding herd

n

For traits that have a low heritability

25% 51% 36% 33%

Table 3 - Additional Accuracy of BREEDPLAN EBV when Genomic Prediction is Incorporated

The additional accuracy provided by the incorporation of the genomic predictions at differing levels of existing EBV accuracy for each genomic product is outlined in Table 3.

n

BeefCRC for Angus

n In

situations where collecting effective performance information is problematic, such as in small herds, or when an animal has been removed from its contemporary group

n In

situations where little information is recorded with Angus BREEDPLAN for the animal, such as recently imported overseas sires

The incorporation of genomic predictions will add minimal accuracy to the EBVs for animals whose existing EBV has high accuracy.

Further Information To further discuss the incorporation of genomic information in Angus BREEDPLAN, please contact Andrew Byrne at Angus Australia on (02) 6773 4618 or via email andrew@ angusaustralia.com.au. 7

TRAIT

INITIAL EBV ACCURACY

20% 40% 60% 80%

Zoetis HD50K for Angus

Calving Ease Direct Birth Weight Gestation Length 200 Day Growth 400 Day Weight 600 Day Weight Mature Cow Weight Milk Scrotal Size Carcase Weight Eye Muscle Area Rib Fat Rump Fat Intramuscular Fat

+24% +13% +6% +2% +29% +16% +7% +2% +38% +23% +11% +3% +26% +14% +6% +2% +32% +19% +9% +2% +38% +23% +11% +3% +40% +25% +12% +4% +30% +17% +8% +2% +43% +27% +14% +4% +25% +14% +6% +2% +18% +9% +4% +1% +25% +14% +6% +2% +19% +10% +4% +1% +13% +6% +3% +1%

GeneSeek GGP for Angus

Birth Weight 200 Day Weight 400 Day Weight Mature Cow Weight Milk Scrotal Size Carcase Weight Eye Muscle Area Intramuscular Fat

+45% +29% +15% +4% +23% +12% +5% +1% +17% +8% +4% +1% +28% +15% +7% +2% +18% +9% +4% +1% +41% +26% +13% +4% +13% +6% +3% +1% +36% +21% +10% +3% +23% +13% +6% +1%

Beef CRC for Angus

Carcase Weight Fat Rump Fat Intramuscular Fat

+11% +33% +20% +18%

+5% +19% +10% +9%

+2% +9% +4% +4%

+1% +2% +1% +1%


Producer Case Study: ALC Brahmans The Worth of Genetics From A Producer Perspective

A

lf Collins of ALC Brahmans considers genetic improvement through the selection of superior sires to be a key part of any beef production business plan.

Alf and Louise Collins currently run 700 stud Brahman females at “Gunderoo” on the Connors Rivers 70 km SE of Nebo and another 2,200 commercial females on “Tondara Station” 100 km west of Bowen. Alf gave a presentation on the worth of genetics from a producer perspective at the MLA Innovation Marquee at Rockhampton Beef Week 2015.

Genetics Key Part of the Business When describing his beef business, Alf uses a three legged stool analogy of Management, Nutrition and Genetics. ALC Brahman

“The first leg of the stool is represented by Management. That’s

variation within a herd can be represented as a bell curve

management of the property, herd, people, finance etc. The

(Figure 1) with animals of greater genetic superiority falling to

second leg is represented by Nutrition, so that’s pasture, grazing

the right of the herd mean.

practices, supplementation etc. The third leg is represented by Genetics. Just like the three legged stool, the businesses relies

“The idea is having a genetic program whereby you are identifying

on each leg with equal importance, otherwise it will fall over. If

then selecting the animals in the lead of the mob, and crossing

the first two legs, management and nutrition are strong, then

them over the remainder of the mob, and as a result, the mean

superior genetics will be of immense benefit to the business.”

will then shift to towards the better end of the bell curve (Figure 1).

Alf aims to select genetically superior animals for breeding in

Repeat this process, and over generations of genetic selection, the

order to improve the overall genetics of the herd. The genetic

mean will eventually become what used to be the lead of the mob.”

Figure 1: Response to selection bell curve 8


Figure 2: . 2014 drop calves average Jap Ox and Live Export selection indexes ($ per cow mated) for the Brahman breed versus the 2014 calves born in the ALC herd

The Importance of Sire Selection

“The profit in the ALC herd is driven by reproduction, with enough growth to hit our market windows and get there quickly.

Alf considers sire selection to be the major directional force for

At ALC we’re certainly not interested in high growth, as growth

herd genetic improvement.

equals intake. A big motor needs a lot of fuel! We are trying to stick

“The Clay Centre, Nebraska, documented the power of bull

with moderate, efficient cattle with fast growth, with reproduction

selection versus female selection over a 20 year trial using yearling

being the main driver.”

weights. From this trial, through bull selection alone, they were

“When you get these genetic trend lines heading in the right

able to gain 50kg/head. Heifer selection alone, resulted in only

direction, it’s reassuring us that we are selecting the right animals

5.5kg/head improvement. Bull plus heifer selection yielded 51kg

from the front of the bell curve and ALC has a selection process

of improvement. So what it determined, is that bull selection

taking the tail off, therefore moving our mean in a positive direction

accounted for almost 90% of the total genetic improvement in

for economic traits.”

yearling weights and that can apply for most traits of similar

The Worth of Genetics

heritability. So that comes back to the old bell curve again. We need to identify the sires in the lead, crossing them over the females

As part of his presentation in the MLA Innovation Marquee at

in the herd, moving the mean to the right.”

Beef 2015 Alf provided some examples of why fertility is such an

Applying this concept of genetic improvement to the Brahman

important profit driver in the ALC Brahman herd. Economically

breed, Alf stated that recent CRC data for Brahmans has shown

over the four month calving period:

that over a ten year period, it’s possible to reduce calving interval

n

in the Brahman breed by 3-4 months, reduce age of puberty by 4-5

Calves born in first month are 60kg heavier by the end of wet season than calves born in the last month.

months and increase weaning rate by 10-14%.

n

Profit Driven by Reproduction Rate

Dams calving at the start of the season are 50kg heavier by April pregnancy test. 60kg + 50kg = 110kg X $1.80/kg = $198 margin over calves born 4 months later

After analysing their business, the Collins’s found that fertility was one of

n

the key traits that drove profit in their beef herd.

The flow on effect .... Steers sold 20 weeks earlier X $3/week = $60/head

“Certainly in our herd and I think this applies to most beef herds in

n If

Northern Australia, 70% is coming from fertility and reproduction, 20%

we add growth at 50kg (difference between fastest and

slowest growing animal) X $2/kg = $100/head

from growth and 10% from other traits, being carcass traits, colour,

“We can make genetic gain for a number of traits in our herd if we

depending on regions, market bias and fashion at the time.”

want to. It will require using the best genetics selected by genotype

The Collins’s performance record their stud herd and submit this

(EBV’s) in conjunction with favourable phenotypic traits.

information to BREEDPLAN for the calculation of EBVs, information which in turn is used to identify future sires and dams. The ALC herd is

We need to have management systems that ensure that only the

positioned in the top 1% for both Jap Ox and Live Ex $ Index’s (Figure 1).

functional animals remain in our breeding herd.” 9


New Wagyu Fullblood Terminal Selection Index

A

new tool for the identification and selection of superior genetics was made available to Wagyu breeders in the March 2015 Wagyu GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis,

with the launch of a new Fullblood Terminal selection index. The new index is one of the key outcomes from Phase I of the Wagyu Collaborative Genetics Research Project, co-funded by the Australian Wagyu Association and Meat and Livestock Australia.

Enhanced Carcase EBVs As part of Phase I of the Wagyu Collaborative Genetics Research Project carcase data including carcase weight, AUSMeat marble score, P8 rump fat depth, and up to 11 Camera Marbling traits were collected on 2215 commercial carcases. The project has resulted in the enhancement of the Wagyu BREEDPLAN genetic analysis through increased EBV accuracy and adjustment of trait parameters, as well as the release of two new EBVs. New Marble Score and Marble Fineness EBVs were released in the March 2015 Wagyu GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis to add to the existing carcase EBVs for the Wagyu breed. Carcase trait EBVs for Wagyu now include;

Carcase Weight EBV (kg) estimates the genetic difference

Marble Fineness EBV (Marbling Fineness Index) is an

in a standard AUS-MEAT carcase weight at an age of 750 days. More positive EBVs indicate heavier carcases at a given age.

estimate of the genetic difference in the Marbling Fineness

Eye Muscle Area EBV (cm2) estimates genetic differences

Japanese Digital Image Camera. Sires with higher EBVs are

Index (degree of fineness of marbling fat) as measured by the

in eye muscle area at the 12/13th rib site of a 400kg carcase.

expected to produce progeny with higher levels of marbling

Measurements taken at other quartering sites such as the

fineness.

4th/5th rib or the 10th/11th rib are adjusted to the 12th/13th

The Wagyu Fullblood Terminal Index

rib measurement. AUS-MEAT assessed and Japanese digital image camera measured Eye Muscle Areas of carcases

The Wagyu Fullblood Terminal Index (FTI) has been developed

contribute to this EBV. More positive EBVs indicate larger eye

specifically by AGBU for the Australian Wagyu Association as

muscle area and therefore higher retail beef yields.

part of the Wagyu Collaborative Genetics Research Project. It

Rump Fat EBV (mm) estimates the genetic differences

utilises the Carcase Weight EBV and Marble Score EBV, being the traits that determine the price of Wagyu carcases. Fullblood

in fat depth at the P8 site of a 400kg carcase. AUS-MEAT measurements of P8 fat depth on carcases contribute to this

Terminal Indexes are currently available for 310 Fullblood sires

EBV. More positive EBVs indicate more subcutaneous fat and

and over 2000 Fullblood females which are updated monthly

earlier maturity.

as part of the Wagyu GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis. As more

Marble Score EBV (AUS-MEAT Marble Score) estimates

carcase data is added, the number of sires and dams with the

MEAT marble scores and Japanese digital image camera

The index assumptions are for a 420kg carcase, with a base

measured marbling percentage in carcases contribute to this

price of $8.50/kg carcase weight (average for a carcase with a

EBV. Sires with higher Marble Score EBVs are expected to

marble score of 7) and a $1 increase/decrease in carcase per

produce progeny with higher AUS-MEAT marble scores.

kilogram per marbling score. Half the differences in EBVs of

new EBVs and Index will increase.

genetic differences in Marble Score in a 400kg carcase. AUS-

10


Importance of Considering Individual EBVs When Using Selection Indexes

O

ne common misconception when using selection indexes to identify animals for use within a breeding program is that animals can simply be ranked on

the selection index of relevance, with no consideration given to the animals’ genetic merit for individual traits and/or additional selection criteria of importance. In reality, this is far from the truth and it is important that breeders consider each animal’s EBVs for traits of importance to the their individual breeding program before making a selection decision. For example, producers may pay attention to:

n

Calving Ease EBVs if they are planning to use the bull over heifers

n Mature

Cow Weight EBVs if monitoring the weight of

mature cows is of particular importance n

Fat EBVs if they require more or less fat on their steers at slaughter

n

EMA EBVs if they want to specifically improve the muscling in their herd

Considering Individual EBVs in Practice To demonstrate the benefit of considering individual EBVs of importance, the following case study showcases an Angus breeder who has identified the Angus Breeding Index as the selection index of relevance to their breeding program. While focusing on the Angus breed, this example equally applies in other breeds. Figure 1 (see right) shows the indicative change in traits that

The breeder is concerned that basing selection decisions on

would be expected within the breeder’s herd after one generation

the Angus Breeding Index alone may increase the mature cow

based on selection of animals using the Angus Breeding Index alone. The indicative change for each trait is also detailed in Table

weight of the females in his breeding herd, which is contrary to

1 on the next page.

his desired breeding objective.

Continued ... New Wagyu Fullblood

an Index of +$515 ($85 + $430). The sire will add $515 to the

the sires is expressed in the progeny because the progeny get

value of its progeny on average compared to a sire with a zero

half their genes from the sire and half from the dam.

Index.

For example if a sire has a Carcase Weight EBV of +20 and

For more information about the new Wagyu Feedlot Terminal

a Marble Score EBV of +2.0 the value of the additional 10kg

Selection Index or the Wagyu Collaborative Genetics Research

of carcase weight is $85 (10kg @ $8.50) and the value of one

Project contact staff at the Australian Wagyu Association or

additional marble score is $430 (430kg @ $1). The sire will have

SBTS Wagyu Technical Officer Alex McDonald. 11


To accommodate this, the breeder has decided to use the Angus Breeding Index as the basis for his selection decision, but has elected to exclude any animals with extremely undesirable genetics for mature cow weight by excluding any animals with a Mature Cow Weight EBV in the heaviest 1% of the breed.

Table 1 - Indicative Response to Selection Using Angus Breeding Index

Figure 2 (see previous page) shows the indicative change in traits that would be expected within the breeder’s herd after one generation based on selection of animals on the Angus Breeding Index with the additional criteria placed on mature cow weight.

Calving Ease Direct Direct Calving Ease Dtrs Birth Weight Gestation Length 200 Day Growth 400 Day Weight 600 Day Weight Mature Cow Weight Milk Scrotal Size Days to Calving Carcase Weight Eye Muscle Area Rib Fat Rump Fat Retail Beef Yield Intramuscular Fat

As is evident in Figure 2, simply excluding animals with extremely high EBVs for Mature Cow Weight (ie. in the heaviest 1% of the breed) considerably moderates the indicative increase in mature cow weight. Conversely, the breeder also evaluated the indicative change in traits that would be expected if rather than excluding animals in the heaviest 1% of the breed, he placed additional pressure on this trait by excluding animals in the heaviest 20% of the breed. As illustrated in Figure 3 (see previous page), excluding animals in the heaviest 20% of the breed may be considered to place too much additional emphasis on the individual EBV and compromise the indicative response in other important traits, especially growth to 400 or 600 days of age.

No Individual EBV Criteria

Sires Excluded with MCW in Heaviest 1% of Angus Breed

Sires Excluded with MCW in Heaviest 20% of Angus Breed

+0.9% +1.0% -0.1 kg -0.7 days +3 kg +6 kg +9 kg +6 kg +2 kg +0.4 cm -1.0 days +4 kg +1.0 cm2 +0.1 mm +0.2 mm +0.1% +0.4%

+1.0% +0.9% -0.3 kg -0.7 days +2 kg +5 kg +6 kg +1 kg +2 kg +0.3 cm -0.9 days +3 kg +1.1 cm2 +0.2 mm +0.2 mm +0.0% +0.5%

+1.1% +0.9% -0.5 kg -0.5 days +1 kg +2 kg +2 kg -6 kg +2 kg +0.2 cm -0.8 days +0 kg +1.3 cm2 +0.3 mm +0.2 mm +0.0% +0.5%

disorders, pedigree and DNA results for qualitative traits like coat colour. One strategy that can be used to incorporate selection for these other traits of economic and functional importance with the animal’s EBV and selection index information is to firstly rank animals on the selection index of relevance, exclude any animals whose individual EBVs fall outside of an acceptable range and then assess the animals for these other traits of importance, excluding any animals from selection who are not acceptable in each area.

Strategy for Using Selection Indexes Developing a selection strategy that appropriately takes into consideration an animal’s individual EBVs is the most effective way of ensuring that the selection index information available on animals is utilised in the correct manner and the most appropriate animals selected for use within a breeding program.

To further discuss the use of selection indexes to assist with the selection of animals for use within a breeding program, please contact SBTS & TBTS staff.

One simple way of considering an animal’s individual EBVs is to set acceptable ranges for the individual EBVs of particular importance. In this scenario, animals would firstly be ranked on the selection index of relevance but then any animal whose individual EBVs fall outside of the acceptable range be excluded from selection.

Tips When Using Selection Indexes

It is also important to note that not all EBVs are currently included in the calculation of the selection index values. For example, Net Feed Intake, Docility and Structural Soundness EBVs are currently excluded in breeds where these EBVs are published. Similar to the approach outlined above, if these EBVs are of importance then animals should firstly be ranked on the selection index of relevance but then any animal whose EBV falls outside of an acceptable range for these traits be excluded from selection.

3 Establish a clearly defined breeding objective 3 Identify the selection index of relevance to your breeding objective

3 Rank

animals available for selection on the selection index

3 Consider

individual EBVs of particular importance within your breeding program and disregard any animals with EBVs in undesirable ranges

In a similar manner to the consideration of individual EBVs, it is also important to consider other selection criteria that may not be accounted for in the calculation of the index.

3 Consider other selection criteria and disregard

For example, this may include such things as assessment of an animal’s temperament, structural and reproductive soundness, phenotype, fertility status, carrier status for any relevant genetic

any animals that do not meet acceptable standards

12


Speckle Park International Inc. Join SBTS

S

outhern Beef Technology Services is pleased to announce that in April 2015, Speckle Park International Inc. joined SBTS as the newest SBTS Stakeholder. The

SBTS team welcomes Speckle Park International Inc. and looks forward to working with both Speckle Park International Inc. and breeders of Speckle Park cattle around Australia. As a SBTS Stakeholder, Speckle Park International Inc. members will have access to all of the services currently offered by SBTS. The SBTS technical officer for Speckle Park International is Catriona Millen. Catriona can be contacted on 02 6773 3357 or via email catriona@sbts.une.edu.au

Alex McDonald Wins RW Vincent Award

S

BTS Technical Officer Alex MacDonald, was recognised for his outstanding career spanning more than 40 years serving the beef cattle industry, when he was presented with the 2015 RW Vincent Award at the RaboBank Beef Industry Awards Dinner on May 4th as part of Rockhampton Beef Week 2015. Awarded by the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association (ARCBA), the RW Vincent award recognises outstanding contributions to the cattle industry over a sustained period of time. Alexâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s contributions have included industry leadership roles with the Australian Limousin Breedersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Society, the Performance Beef Breeders Association, the Agricultural Business Research Institute, the Animal Breeding and Genetics Unit and the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association. Alex has also been an active contributor to national beef research programmes, including playing a strong role in the introduction of the Docility EBV and DNA markers to the Australian beef industry. SBTS and TBTS congratulate Alex on his achievement. The SBTS and TBTS team combined with HerdMaster and BREEDPLAN to host a trade site in the Durack Pavilion at Rockhampton Beef Week this year.

SBTS Technical Officer Alex McDonald, pictured with Malcolm Foster, received the 2015 RW Vincent Award for outstanding contribution to the beef industry.

13


Ultrasound Scanner Accreditation Completed

T

wenty five ultrasound scanners have been accredited to submit ultrasound scanning data to BREEDPLAN after successfully completing the Australian Registered

at using the ultrasound scanning equipment and interpreting

Cattle Breeders’ Association Inc. (ARCBA) accreditation

animals and accurately measuring the animal compared to the

course. The scanning accreditation course was attended by 28

‘selected scanners’. While their proficiency for some traits was

scanners from a range of countries, including Australia, New

not as strong as required for Accredited status, they showed

Zealand, Namibia and the United Kingdom. Those scanners

strong ability for using the equipment and interpreting the

who successfully completed the course, have been accredited

results. Further experience in ultrasound scanning should

to submit ultrasound scanning measurements for Rump

enable these Provisional scanners to attain Accredited status

Fat, Rib Fat, Eye Muscle Area (EMA) and Intramuscular Fat

in the future. A Fail status indicated that the scanner was

(IMF%) to BREEDPLAN. All current Australian scanners who

inexperienced in the use of the scanning equipment and/

participated in the course were re-accredited.

or misinterpreted the results. Alternatively, some scanners

the results. Scanners who achieved a Provisional status showed proficiency at being able to get repeat measures on the same

received a Fail status as their equipment was unable to measure

The accreditation course was run over four days in November

the trait in question and so they could not be assessed for that

2014, with seven scanners attending each day. In the morning,

trait.

the participants ultrasound scanned 30 animals for Rump Fat, Rib Fat, EMA and IMF% using their own ultrasound scanning

Only those ultrasound scanners who achieved Accreditation

equipment. In the afternoon, the same 30 animals were then

or Provisional status are able to submit ultrasound scan data

re-scanned in a different order. Following the completion of

to BREEDPLAN for genetic evaluation purposes. Therefore, of

the course the repeatability of each scanner was assessed for

the 28 scanners that completed the course, 25 are eligible to

all four traits. In addition, the repeatability of each individual

submit Fat/EMA ultrasound scanning data to BREEDPLAN,

scanner was compared to the repeatability of a group of

and 23 are eligible to submit IMF% ultrasound scanning data

‘selected scanners’. These ‘selected scanners’ were scanners

to BREEDPLAN. All current Australian scanners seeking re-

who had achieved an accredited status for their repeatability

accreditation successfully completed the course.

for all four traits.

A list of scanners accredited to submit ultrasound data

The ARCBA committee has given each scanner a status

to BREEDPLAN for genetic evaluation is available the

(Accredited, Provisional or Fail) for Fats/EMA combined and a

BREEDPLAN website (http://breedplan.une.edu.au). Beef

second status for IMF%. The results of the course are outlined

producers interested in submitting ultrasound data to

in Table 1. Scanners who were given an Accredited status

BREEDPLAN for use in the calculation of carcase EBVs should

showed good proficiency at getting repeat measures on the

contact an accredited scanner to arrange scanning of their

same animals and accurately measuring the animal compared

animals. BREEDPLAN can only accept ultrasound scanning

to the ‘selected scanners’. These scanners are very competent

data on animals aged from 300 to 800 days.

Trait Fats/EMA IMF%

Number of Accredited Scanners

Number of Provisional Scanners

23 16%

Number of Failed Scanners

2

3

7

5

Table 1. The number of fully accredited, provisional and failed scanners for both Fats/EMA and IMF% following the ARCBA Ultrasound Accreditation course held in Armidale NSW in November 2014.

14


Optimise Joining Using MateSel

S

eedstock members in Australia are encouraged to consider using the MateSel mating optimisation tool when planning their upcoming joinings.

MateSel creates additional genetic progress within a breeding program by generating a suggested mating list from a list of sires and dams that a seedstock producer nominates as being available for use within their upcoming joining program. MateSel not only allows seedstock members to maximise genetic progress whilst managing inbreeding, but will also save significant time previously spent compiling mating lists. MateSel is fully customised to the breeding program of each

MateSel is a valuable addition to the BREEDPLAN suite of

individual seedstock operation with the seedstock producer

tools that are that are offered by the Agricultural Business

choosing acceptable inbreeding limits by selecting one of three

Research Institute (ABRI) in Armidale, NSW.

breeding strategies, “Genetic Diversity”, “Balanced” or “High

Seedstock members interested in learning more about MateSel

Genetic Gain” and providing details of their desired breeding

should visit the BREEDPLAN website (http://breedplan.une.

objective. A flat fee of $165 (inc GST) applies to access a MateSel analysis, and results are returned promptly, usually

edu.au) and click on the MateSel icon on the right hand side,

within one working day.

or contact staff at SBTS or TBTS.

15


Accessing Support in Application of Genetic Technologies For 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, GeneProb, Mate Selection Software & DNA based tools or to discuss any of the information included in this edition of the SBTS & TBTS Update, please contact:

Technical Consultant

Breeds

Contact Details

Alex McDonald

Simmental Limousin

Wagyu

Catriona Millen

Hereford Blonde dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Aquitaine Gelbvieh Red Poll Charolais Red Angus

Salers South Devon Speckle Park Devon Shorthorn Murray Grey

Paul Williams

Belmont Red Brahman Brangus Charbray

Droughtmaster Santa Gertrudis Senepol Simbrah

alex@sbts.une.edu.au (02) 6773 2472

catriona@sbts.une.edu.au (02) 6773 3357

paul@tbts.une.edu.au (07) 4927 6066

Andrew Byrne

Angus

andrew@angusaustralia.com.au (02) 6772 4618

Carel Teseling

Angus

carel@angusaustralia.com.au (02) 6773 4602

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

Tropical Beef Technology Services Telephone: (07) 4927 6066 Email: office@tbts.une.edu.au Web: http://tbts.une.edu.au

Southern Beef Technology Services Telephone: (02) 6773 3555 Email: office@sbts.une.edu.au Web: http://sbts.une.edu.au 16

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Winter 2015 SBTS & TBTS Update  

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