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SUMMER

2015

UPDATE

Breeding for Genetic Improvement of Retail Beef Yield

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etail beef yield (RBY) is the amount of saleable beef obtained from a carcase once the bones and excess fat have been removed. The retail beef yield of an individual

carcase which is expressed as a percentage of the carcase weight is influenced by the relative amount of bone, muscle and fat in the carcase. The difference between a 320kg carcase with a 67% RBY and a carcase with a 72% RBY is 16kg of saleable beef. At a wholesale price of $6/kg this amounts to $96 and at an average retail price of $20/kg the difference in value of the two carcases is $320. Teys Australia recently announced that they plan to move to a Value Based Payment system, whereby producers are paid for both the yield and eating quality of carcases. Payment systems based on the eating quality of carcases are now common, with many processors introducing payment systems where MSA beef is receiving premiums over non-MSA beef (see the ‘Meat Standards Australia Breeding for Improved MSA Compliance and Increased MSA Index Values in the Winter 2015 SBTS/TBTS Update for further information). However, the introduction of payment systems based on the yield of a carcase will be a first for the Australian beef industry. New technologies such as dual energy x-ray (DEXA), which

selection programs. However it is important that genetic progress for increased retail beef yield does not lead to unfavourable effects in other related traits. How to understand and use Retail Beef Yield EBVs are discussed in this article.

can estimate retail beef yield on the whole carcases, will be

Understanding Retail Beef Yield EBVs

introduced. With this technology processors such as Teys will

BREEDPLAN produces EBVs for a number of carcase traits,

have the the ability to estimate retail beef yield on every carcase that they process enabling differential pricing and feedback to producers.

including Retail Beef Yield. The Retail Beef Yield (RBY) EBVs are estimates of the genetic difference between animals in boned out retail beef yield in a standard weight steer carcase. RBY EBVs are

Premiums and discounts for retail beef yield are the missing link

reported as differences in percentage (%) yield.

in a true value based payment system. Once beef producers are

Larger, more positive RBY EBVs are more favourable. For

rewarded for retail beef yield both the quality and retail beef

example, an animal with a Retail Beef Yield EBV of +0.9%

yield of the carcase they will need to balance these traits in their

would be expected to producer progeny that would yield higher

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


Continued - Breeding for Genetic Improvement of Retail Beef Yield

percentages of saleable beef in a standard weight steer carcase than an animal with a Retail Beef Yield EBV of -0.9%.

SUMMER

Collecting Data for Retail Beef Yield EBVs

2015

Collecting actual measurements of retail beef yield has been both expensive and difficult because each cut of the carcase has to be trimmed to a specified level and individually weighed in a boning room. For this reason, retail beef yield measurements submitted to BREEDPLAN have been limited to records collected as part of structured research projects and progeny test trials.

UPDATE in this issue Breeding for Genetic Improvement of Retail Beef Yield 1 Brahman BIN Projects Update

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Get Social with SBTS & TBTS

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Currently, the BREEDPLAN analysis calculates the Retail Beef Yield EBV using relationships between retail beef yield and other correlated traits such as fat depth and eye muscle area. Carcase weight also has a small influence on retail beef yield. In seedstock herds we rely on ultrasound scanning to measure the carcase traits such as fat depth, eye muscle area which influence retail beef yield. The EBVs for fat depth and eye muscle area are used in the BREEDPLAN analysis to calculate EBVs for Retail Beef Yield.

Managing Inbreeding Within a Seedstock Beef Breeding Enterprise 6

When collecting ultrasound scan data:

Carel Teseling Joins the SBTS Team

4 Scan you animals when they are between 300-800 days of age.

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Changes to EBV Reportability Criteria for a Number of Breed Societies Rolled Out in 2016 9 Strong Roll-Up at Wagyu Genetics Workshop

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BullSELECT Workshops

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‘BREEDPLAN Basics’ Webinar Presentations Now Available Online 14 Can Coronet Band Tapes Be Used to Accurately Predict Birth Weight? An Australian Hereford Case Study 15 Enhancements to the BREEDPLAN Standard Error Graph 17 New Data Submission Feedback Protocols for Brahman, Charolais & Hereford BREEDPLAN Members 19 Enhancements to Angus BREEDPLAN 20 Net Feed Intake: Feedlot (NFI-F) EBVs Now Available For Hereford Animals

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Enhancements to Simmental BREEDPLAN 22 Monthly GROUP BREEDPLAN Analyses for Australian Composite & Devon 23 Enhancements to Shorthorn BREEDPLAN 23 Accessing Support in Application of Genetic Technologies

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4 Use an Accredited Scanner. 4 Only scan animals when they are in good condition. 4 Scan all animals - not just bulls. 4 Scan all animals within a management group. While it is currently difficult to collect information directly for Retail Beef Yield EBVs, advancements in abattoir technology are likely to enable routine objective measurement of retail beef yield. Routine objective measurement will offer opportunities to collect retail beef yield measurements in progeny test programs, and in time, lead to the development of genomic technologies that will increase the accuracy of the Retail Beef Yield EBVs that are available on seedstock animals.

Breeding for Improved Retail Beef Yield Given that payment for retail beef yield is likely to occur, how can beef producers use genetics to improve the retail beef yield potential of their herd? Retail Beef Yield EBVs based on actual retail beef yield measurements will be a much more powerful tool than Retail beef Yield EBVs based on the correlated traits of fat depth and eye muscle area. However, it is important that beef producers balance improvements in retail beef yield with other important economic traits. Retail beef yield is not inherited in isolation; there are a number of relationships between retail beef yield and other traits. In some cases these relationships are favourable, and selection pressure on retail beef yield will drive both traits in a desirable direction. However, some relationships between retail beef yield and other traits are unfavourable, and selection pressure on retail beef yield will cause the other trait to move in an unfavourable direction. In particular: n

An increase in retail beef yield is generally associated with decreases in rib and rump fat. Conversely, increases in rib and rump fat are associated with decreases in retail beef yield.

n

An increase in retail beef yield is generally associated with a decrease in intramuscular fat. The opposite is also true; an increase in intramuscular fat is associated with a decrease in retail beef yield. 2


n

An increase in retail beef yield is generally associated with

that beef producers use selection indexes when making

an increase in eye muscle area, and vice-versa.

selection decisions. These selection indexes rank animal on profit (dollars per cow mated), within a specific production to

The animal below is a classic example of these relationships;

market scenario. They have been designed to balance genetic

having EBVs which are below breed average for Eye Muscle

improvement across traits, thus taking the hard work out of

Area and Retail Beef Yield, and EBVS which are above average

deciding how much emphasis to place on each individual trait.

for Rib Fat, Rump Fat and Intramuscular Fat:

When using selection indexes: 1. Identify the selection index of most relevance

Identify which selection index available for your breed best fits your breeding objectives. Consider the predicted response to using that selection index (green graph; available in the ‘Interpreting Selection Indexes’ tipsheet for the relevant breed). If breeding for improved retail beef yield, identify whether using the particular selection index is predicted to increase retail beef yield, or not.

2. Rank animals on selection index Sort animals on selection index to identify the most profitable animals for the particular selection index. 3. Consider individual traits

Animals with the same selection index value can have very different individual EBVs. Therefore, identify which traits

Fortunately, there are animals out there that buck these trends.

are of particular importance in your breeding program.

The animal below is such an example; having EBVs that are

Consider doing a secondary selection on traits of most

above breed average for Rib Fat, Rump Fat and Intramuscular

importance. For example, if breeding for both quantity

Fat, while also having EBVs that are above average for Eye

(retail beef yield) and quality (marbling) carcases, you may

Muscle Area and Retail Beef Yield:

wish to rank animals on the relevant selection index, and then do a secondary selection where the individual Retail Beef Yield and Intramuscular Fat EBVs are considered. Animals which don’t fall within a certain percentile band for these individual traits (e.g. top 10%, top 20%, top 50%) could then be discarded as selection candidates. 4. Consider other information

It is also important to consider other information available on the selection candidates. Is the animal sound? Is the animal fertile? Does the animal have any known genetic conditions?

The approach suggested above should allow beef producers to make genetic progress in retail beef yield, without having an adverse effect on other important traits. For those breeders who do not currently have a selection index available, ensure you consider not just Retail Beef Yield EBVs when making selection decisions, but the EBVs of all important economic

The aim of breeding for improved retail beef yield is therefore

traits. The ‘EBV Enquiry’ facility in Internet Solutions is a

to identify those animals which will improve retail beef yield

useful tool; allowing users to set minimum and/or maximum

within the herd, while not having a detrimental effect on other important traits. Which tools are available to help beef

EBVs for individual traits when conducting searches.

producers to identify these animals?

For further information on interpreting Retail Beef Yield EBVs,

For the 14 SBTS and TBTS Stakeholder Breed Societies which

and using these to breed for improved retail beef yield, please

currently have selection indexes available, it is recommended

contact staff at SBTS or TBTS 3


Brahman BIN Projects Update

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he Australian Brahman Progeny Test Project is a large scale sire progeny testing project for Brahman cattle. The Progeny Test Project is conducted by

the Australian Brahman Breeders’ Association with funding assistance from the Meat & Livestock Australia Donor Company under the Beef Information Nucleus (BIN) program. 75 Brahman sires, including six Beef CRC sires were joined by either AI or natural mating to a commercial cow base over three years at three co-operator herds. The cows were located at Banana Station, Banana, Baradoo Station, Bauhinia and CSIRO Belmont. All calves bred at Banana Station and Baradoo were by AI, while both AI and “back-up” bulls were used at CSIRO Belmont. Figure 1.The percentage of a sire’s daughters which were cycling at 550 days of age.

All steer progeny were transferred at weaning to Banana Station, where they were run together and finished on grass to Jap Ox weight. The female progeny from Belmont were transferred to

of 528 of the cohort one and cohort two steers. Meat samples

Banana Station and run with the Banana Station heifers, while

from all of these carcases have been analysed by the UNE

the Baradoo heifers remained at Baradoo to produce progeny

Meat Science Lab for tenderness, cooking loss, meat colour

which are managed commercially as one cohort and measured

and intramuscular fat (IMF).Tail hairs and blood samples

for a range of economically important traits. The high quality

are collected on all progeny as a source of DNA information

performance data provides head-on-head comparison between

for future development and validation of genomic based

the young and proven sires progeny which is analysed through

technologies. All calves are DNA sire verified by the Animal

BREEDPLAN for the respective breed.

Genetics Lab at the University of Queensland.

Performance data was collected on 833 steers and 949 heifers

The female progeny have been retained in the project for their

for birth weight, gestation length, 200, 400 and 600 day weights

first two calves with joining information to be submitted to

and flight time. Structural soundness assessments were also

BREEDPLAN for use in the calculation of Days to Calving

conducted on these animals. Steers and heifers were scanned

EBVs. To investigate the onset of puberty, these females were

for rib fat, rump fat and eye muscle area (EMA). Full MSA

ovarian scanned at 550 and 750 days. Figure 1 highlights the

chiller assessments have also been conducted on the carcases

difference between sires in the ability of their daughters (from

Figure 2. Difference in Maiden heifer pregnancy in months.

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the first cohort) to have reached puberty by 550 days of age. The variation ranged from 5% to 70% of an individual sire’s daughters cycling at 550 days of age (see Figure 1). The heifers were mated over a twelve week period. Heifers were pregnancy scanned at eight weeks after the bulls went in, again at bull out and again five weeks after the bulls came out. This was done to gain accurate foetal aging. The image below shows an ultrasound scan image of a six week foetus.

Figure 3. Difference in first-calf cow pregnancy in months.

cows were pregnancy scanned at eight weeks after the bulls went in, again at bull out and also five weeks after the bulls came out. Following the 12 week mating period, 73% of the first-calf cows were pregnant. Of the 27% of the first-calf cows that were empty, 9% had failed to cycle by the end of mating. Figure 3 highlights the difference in when the sire’s daughters are due to calf. This graph takes into account those cows that

This resulted in a pregnancy rate of 94% across all the cohort

did not conceive during mating (see Figure 3).

one heifers. As Figure 2 shows, even with the high pregnancy

This project is successfully showing the influence that genetics

rate, there was a 4.5 week difference in when the daughters

have on female fertility. As was shown in the Beef CRC,

from the top sire and the bottom sire were due to calf (see

those bulls whose heifers reach puberty at an early age are

Figure 2).

not necessarily the same bulls as those whose daughters have

All cows that failed to conceive as a heifer or failed to have a live

earlier post-partum anoestrus.

calf at the end of mating were culled from the project. The firstcalf cows were mated for a 12 week period, and as when heifers,

For more information on the Brahman Progeny Test Project

the cows were ultrasound scanned to determine whether they

please contact Paul Williams from Tropical Beef Technology

were cycling and to establish foetal age if pregnant. Once again,

Services on 0427 018 982 or via email paul@tbts.une.edu.au.

Get Social with SBTS & TBTS

B

eef producers can keep up to date with the latest developments in genetic technologies and the activities of SBTS and TBTS by following SBTS and TBTS on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Information is routinely posted on Twitter and Facebook such as articles, webinars and event details, while the YouTube channel contains video presentations such as webinars from past webinar series and short “Understanding BREEDPLAN EBVs” video clips.

relevant icon, or go directly to the SBTS & TBTS Facebook account at http://facebook.com/SBTSTBTS, Twitter account at http://twitter.com/SBTSTBTS or YouTube Channel at http://youtube.com/user/sbtstbts.

To follow SBTS and TBTS on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube simply go to the SBTS or TBTS website and click on the

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Managing Inbreeding Within A Seedstock Beef Breeding Enterprise

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he discussion of inbreeding in bull breeder circles can lead to a passionate debate, with thoughts ranging from “we must avoid inbreeding at all costs” to

“linebreeding is the best thing since sliced bread”. Inbreeding is essentially the mating of animals that are related. Within the pedigree of the mated sire and dam, one or more animals will be in common; resulting in progeny with a certain level of inbreeding. The level of inbreeding will depend on the relationship between the two mated animals, with the closer the relationship, the greater the level of inbreeding that will occur in the resulting progeny. Linebreeding is the deliberate mating of closely related animals with the perceived objective to concentrate desirable characteristics of the progeny and to breed “consistency”.

The Measurement of Inbreeding A common method of measuring the inbreeding level in

that is recorded. For example, the accuracy of the inbreeding

a specific animal or from a planned mating is by way of an

coefficient that is calculated for an animal with little or no

inbreeding coefficient. An inbreeding coefficient is calculated

pedigree recorded may understate the true level of inbreeding,

as the probability percentage (%) for any allele (i.e. pair of genes

and be a lot lower than the inbreeding coefficient that would

at a specific location on the chromosome) to be identical by

be calculated if 10 generations of pedigree had been recorded

descent.

for the animal.

Typical inbreeding coefficient percentages are as follows. This is assuming no previous inbreeding between any parents:

Effects of Inbreeding in Beef Cattle

One limitation when calculating the inbreeding coefficient

Inbreeding is an important consideration in breeding programs

value for an animal is the accuracy and depth of pedigree

as it can potentially lead to three main negative outcomes being:

RELATIONSHIP

INBREEDING COEFFICIENT

Animal mated to its own parent (e.g. sire to daughter)

25%

Full siblings (e.g. sire to dam with a common sire and dam)

25%

Half siblings (sire to dam with a common sire or dam)

12.5%

Half cousins (sire to dam with a single common grandparent)

3.1%

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1) inbreeding depression in production traits 2) increase homozygosity of recessive genetic conditions, and 3) a reduction in genetic diversity. Inbreeding depression Generally, animals with higher levels of inbreeding have depressed performance for a range of economically important traits when compared to animals with lower levels of inbreeding (with all other factors being equal). The depression caused by inbreeding tends to negatively affect the traits which are positively affected by heterosis (i.e. crossbreeding - the opposite of inbreeding), with these being fertility, survival, growth, and to a lesser extent, carcase traits. A literature review undertaken by Burrow (1993) investigated the effects of inbreeding in beef cattle. The review revealed that inbreeding of the individual has a consistent adverse

the potential loss of favourable alleles that may have existed for

effect on growth traits from birth to maturity and on maternal

some traits, plus a decrease in the amount of genetic variation

traits. More specifically, for every 1% increase in inbreeding

that exists between the animals on which future selection

coefficient a decrease of 0.06, 0.44, 0.69 and 1.30 kg in live

decisions can be made.

weight at birth, weaning, yearling and maturity respectively

Inbreeding Considerations

was observed. Additionally, inbreeding in the dam decreased weaning and yearling weights by 0.30 and 0.21 kg respectively

Some breeders may argue that “structured” inbreeding

for every 1% increase in inbreeding coefficient, probably as a

programs can be used to produce a single “superior” individual

result of decreasing milk yield and reduced maternal value of

through the stacking of desirable genes for certain production

the inbred dams.

or functional traits (i.e. linebreeding). This is common practice in the thoroughbred horse industry. For example, Black Caviar

The review also reported inbreeding as having a depressive

has common ancestry in its pedigree through the stallion, Vain.

effect (although the magnitudes of effect were small in some

This stallion is both Black Caviar’s paternal great grandsire and

cases) on heifer conception rates, female fertility, conformation/

maternal great-great-grandsire. She also has a second sire, Silly

structure, feed intake, feed conversion efficiency, carcase traits

Season, further back in the pedigree that appears on both the

and male reproductive traits.

maternal and paternal side.

Recessive Genetic Conditions

Of course, aiming to produce one superior individual will

Most breeds have at least one recognised recessive genetic

also result in many more inferior animals through inbreeding

condition. Examples of these are Arthrogryposis Multiplex

depression or appearance of recessive genetic conditions. The

(AM) in Angus or Angus derived cattle or Pompes Disease in

aim of beef cattle breeders should be to improve the average

Brahman or Brahman derived cattle. An animal must carry

performance of the herd. This can be achieved through

two copies (i.e. homozygote) of the recessive disease allele

objective selection and allocation of matings of breeding

to be affected by the genetic condition. An animal that only

animals on performance traits (EBVs and selection indexes) in

carries one copy (heterozygote) will not show the affects, but

conjunction with visual appraisal, while managing inbreeding

is a “carrier”.

levels. This will ensure the average performance of a herd

An increase in inbreeding can inadvertently lead to an increase

(or breed) is improved while the inbreeding level (or genetic

in the likelihood of animals being affected by recessive genetic

diversity) is maintained.

conditions. This is primarily through the increase in allele homozygosity as explained earlier.

Acceptable Levels of Inbreeding

Reduction in Genetic Diversity

inbreeding within a breeding program, with the goal in most

There is no magic level that is considered an acceptable level of

Over time, higher levels of inbreeding will result in a loss of

breeding programs being to manage inbreeding rather than

genetic diversity within the population. This can impact in both

totally avoid it. Breeding programs that simply avoid inbreeding

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Tools to Manage Inbreeding Bull breeders have a range of tools available to assist them with genetically improving the average of their herd for production traits while monitoring and managing inbreeding. These include: Online Mating Predictor The online animal search facility (colloquially know as Internet Solutions) includes an “enhanced” mating predictor option which has been implemented by many Breed Societies. This facility includes the calculation of an inbreeding coefficient, plus details on the depth of pedigree as a pseudo “accuracy” measure, for progeny from a specified mating (see Figure 1 below). Mate Allocation Tools (e.g. MateSel) A number of computer based breeding tools are available that enable breeders to optimise breeding outcomes for their herd by creating a mating list based on a list of candidate sires and dams. These provide beef cattle seedstock producers with a mechanism for objectively optimising mating allocations to reflect their breeding goals and creating long term, sustainable genetic gains. The genetic gains are based on a nominated breeding objective, while constraints are applied on inbreeding to ensure genetic diversity is maintained or improved. More information is provided regarding one such tool, MateSel, on the BREEDPLAN website.

without considering the genetic merit of the animals used within the mating program are not likely to be economically sustainable in the long term. Ultimately, the most beneficial breeding program will be the one that results in the progeny with the highest overall genetic merit once the negative effects of inbreeding have been adjusted for.

For further information regarding the management of inbreeding within a seedstock beef breeding enterprise, please contact staff at SBTS or TBTS.

Average inbreeding coefficient levels of less than 5% within a breeding program are considered low, with inbreeding levels of 5 – 10% generally considered more moderate levels of inbreeding and warranting more careful management. However, managing the increase in inbreeding level over time is as important, if not more important than managing the overall level of inbreeding within the breeding herd. Ensuring inbreeding levels do not increase by 1% per generation is generally considered to be a good rule of thumb.

References: 1. Burrow H.M (1993). The Effects of Inbreeding in Beef Cattle, Animal Breeding Abstracts Vol. 61 No. 11. 2. Guest B. Inbreeding in Cattle: What You Need to Know! accessed from: http://www.angusaustralia.com.au/Articles/Inbreeding_leaflet. pdf

Figure 1. Example outcome from the mating predictor from a half-sib mating

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Carel Teseling Joins the SBTS Team

S

BTS welcomed a new team member in September 2015, with Carel Teseling starting his new role as Technical Services Manager at the Australian Wagyu Association. Carel will be contributing his skills to the SBTS project as the SBTS Technical Consultant to the Australian Wagyu Association and its members. Carel brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in beef genetics extension to the SBTS project. For the past fourteen years, Carel was the Breed Development and Innovation Manager of Angus Australia. Prior to this, Carel spent nine years as Regional Manager of the Agricultural Research Council in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. SBTS welcomes Carel to the SBTS project and we look forward to working with him in the future.

Changes to EBV Reportability Criteria for a Number of Breed Societies Rolled Out in 2016

H

istorically there have been no standardised EBV reportability criteria for breed societies running BREEDPLAN analyses. This means that the reporting of EBVs can vary across both different traits and different breeds. In addition, animals which have been ‘observed’ for a trait have lower minimum EBV accuracy reportability criteria than those animals which are ‘unobserved’ for a trait. These differences in minimum reportability criteria can make it difficult to understand the different reporting thresholds for each trait.

threshold for all traits for the majority of breed societies.These changes should: 1. Simplify the reportability criteria, as each trait will have the same minimum accuracy threshold for an EBV to report. This consistency across traits will make it easier to understand the accuracy required for EBVs to report. 2. Standardise the reportability criteria across breeds, therefore allowing for greater consistency in EBV reporting. This standardisation will clear up confusion regarding differences in EBV reportability between breeds.

In an attempt to simplify the EBV reporting criteria, BREEDPLAN has rolled out a single minimum accuracy

3. Lead to producers being less likely to submit performance data simply to achieve the lower ‘observed’ minimum accuracy required under the current system for an EBV to report. For the majority of breeds the minimum accuracy threshold for an EBV to report has been set at 25%. Producers can expect to see an EBV reporting if that animal has an EBV with an accuracy of 25% of greater, regardless of whether the trait has been observed. For further information, please contact staff at Southern Beef Technology Services (SBTS) or Tropical Beef Technology Services (TBTS).

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Strong Roll-up at Wagyu Genetics Workshop

O

ver 60 Australian Wagyu Association members from all states discovered the latest developments in Wagyu genetic discovery at a two day workshop in November at Armidale, NSW. Attendees gained a better understanding of genetics, genomics, BREEDPLAN, net feed intake and methane emissions. The question ‘Does BREEDPLAN work for Wagyu?’ was addressed. One industry observer said other breeds would not draw such a good crowd to a technically focussed event. What started as an idea to educate Wagyu directors, ended up to be a fantastic learning opportunity for a large number of Wagyu breeders. Carel Teseling, the recently appointed Technical Services Manager of the Australian Wagyu

Tullimba Feedlot Breeders were introduced to net feed intake and methane production measurement collection on individual animals. Tullimba feedlot manager Colin Crampton explained the feeding protocols and how the GrowSafe equipment was set up and used for the collection of individual feed intake. Chris Webber from the NSW Department of Primary Industries discussed the collection of methane production information using GreenFeeder units installed in the pens. The methane production information collected at Tullimba is vital for several research projects.

Association provided this report. Wagyu members representing large and small enterprises gathered in Armidale for two days to build their genetics skills. They were delighted to learn more about the whole spectrum from the basics of genetics all the way through to genomics. There was a high level of excitement in the achievements of the Wagyu Collaborative Genetics Research Project for the breed over the last two years and also the opportunities presented by genomics in future.

At the University of New England the breeders visited the methane chambers where the methane production of individual animals was being monitored. An animal is fed for 24 or 48 hours in an isolated chamber while its methane production is monitored, providing a very accurate measurement of the amount of methane each animal produces.

Net Feed Intake and Methane Production Prof Hutton Oddie discussed net feed intake testing and methane production. The audience was challenged to think about the benefits of an animal consuming just a couple of kilograms of feed per day less while maintaining productivity. There is currently no evidence that selection for net feed intake will compromise marbling in the breed. However, he recommended the breed should embark on a research project to test animals for feed intake and compare that with their carcase performance.

Understanding Genetics and Genetic Improvement The Genetics Workshop introduced the concept of genetic diversity with examples showing the tremendous amount of diversity found in nature and also how selection for specific

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traits created differences between breeds of various species including dogs and cattle. The point was clearly made that these differences can be attributed to the effect of genes. The structure of DNA was explained in detail and also how DNA is the building block of life. Examples of the red and black gene were used to demonstrate the action of single genes while considering how hundreds of genes could affect traits like growth and disease resistance. The second session focused on populations and the importance of realising there are some very good individuals, some very bad individuals and a large number of average individuals in every population. To make genetic progress it is important to accurately identify the small number of very good individuals as early as possible and use them as the parents of the next generation. To maximise genetic progress it is important to 1) identify the next generation of parents early, 2) use performance recording and Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) to accurately identify superior animals and 3) use AI and ET to select the very best animals to be the parents of the next generation.

As an animal gets older and more performance information (initially its own and later progeny) gets collected, the animal’s EBVs will change to reflect the most recent information. There is an accuracy value associated with every EBV. The EBV accuracy is an indication of the amount and quality of data that contributes to the estimation of the breeding value and will increase as the amount of data collected increase.

Wagyu Genetic Analysis A range of methods are available to identify superior animals i.e. prefectural bloodlines, visual appraisal, performance and carcase data, EBVs and selection indexes.

To answer the question “Does BREEDPLAN work for the Wagyu breed?” Dr Rob Banks compared the genetic analysis with making sausages! The sausage making process is: 1) You need to know what you want, 2) you need to know what ingredients you need to get the required result, and 3) you need to put it all together. In a genetic context: 1) if you want healthy animals with good growth rates that are efficient and with high carcase value you will 2) have to collect data on survival rate, weights, fertility, feed intake, carcase yield, eye muscle area and marbling and then 3) do a genetic analysis of this data.

Breeders can now collect data on more than 20 traits, such as calving ease, fertility traits, weights, scans of Eye Muscle Area and fat depth, and abattoir carcase data. This data (when submitted to the association) gets analysed once a month by the BREEDPLAN software to calculate EBVs. The following image shows how the EBVs of the parents, correlated traits, performance of relatives and the animal’s own performance influence the EBV of an animal.

Mid-Parent Average

Performance of Relatives

EBV Animal’s Own Performance 11

Correlated Traits


He concluded that BREEDPLAN is capable of analysing this

A spreadsheet model representing some of the cost and income

data and in the case of the Wagyu breed a lot more high-

components of the production chain was used to calculate the

quality data needs to be collected. It will be vital for the genetic

income for 1) the cow-calf producer and 2) feedlot/processor

improvement of the breed that Wagyu members participate

sector.

After some “standard industry” information was

entered, some of the survival rate, production, efficiency and

in BREEDPLAN and submit fertility, growth, ultrasound scan and carcase data.

carcase quality levels were changed to show the impact on the

Selection Indexes

section of the production chain. This exercise demonstrated

income of the cow-calf producer and the feedlot/processor the impact genetic change could have on the different sectors

It was emphasised that breeders cannot afford to select for only

and reiterated the importance of considering all traits when

one trait as that could change a second trait in an unfavourable direction. It is necessary to measure both traits and then put

developing a selection index.

a weighting on each to ensure animals are identified that

The promise of genomics

will move the herd/breed in a favourable direction for both

Single Nucleotide Polymorphism or SNP (pronounced “Snip”)

the traits. However; ideally all economically important traits

chips are now the industry standard for genomic testing

(not only two traits) should be considered and weightings

(genotyping) and can be used to determine parentage, the

determined for each of them. The Animal Genetics and

risk of genetic conditions, breed content and selection for

Breeding Unit (AGBU) developed BreedObject to resolve

production traits.

this very complex equation by considering a range of cost and income assumptions at each point along the production chain

The Wagyu breed is currently using DNA based STR

and then calculate the appropriate weightings for each trait.

microsatellite technology to parent verify calves before registration. Unfortunately this technology cannot be used for

To fully utilise the potential of BreedObject, all traits with

any other purpose and is therefore a significant cost without

economic importance in the production chain should have

any additional benefits. If SNPs could be used for parent

high accuracy EBVs available. This is not possible for all animals

verification, it would have the advantage that the genotype

but it highlights the importance of performance recording.

could also be used for determining genetic condition status, breed content and enhancing the accuracy of EBVs. A Wagyu genetic content test has been developed by AWA through AGBU that will be used to determine the breed composition of an animal. This prototype test is in the final validation phase using a wide range of crossbred Wagyu animal DNA samples. The test will be especially helpful to determine the percentage of Wagyu in animals that are put forward for registration in a soon to be created Wagyu Content Register. The test is highly accurate with a standard error of only ±3%. Genomic testing to assist with the early identification of replacement animals is starting to become a reality. However, to achieve this it is necessary to continue to collect accurate performance information (phenotypes) on genotyped animals now and into the future. Genomic testing is expensive and it will be important for AWA to develop systems that will allow all parties that benefit from the information to contribute to the cost of collecting phenotypes and genotypes. For more information about the Wagyu genetics workshop and the topics that were discussed, please contact Carel Teseling, Technical Services Manager of the Australian Wagyu Association on (02) 6773 4222 or via email carel@wagyu.org.au

12


BullSELECT Workshops

I

n 2015, SBTS delivered three BullSELECT workshops in Western Australia in conjunction with More Beef from Pastures (MBfP). These workshops were held at the Western Australian College of Agriculture campuses of Denmark, Harvey and Narrogin. The workshops were well attended by a mix of seedstock beef producers, commercial beef producers, stock agents and students from the agricultural colleges. The claim of most unusual attendee went to the Narrogin workshop, with a swamp wallaby joey in attendance! The BullSELECT workshops provided participants with the opportunity to learn more about BREEDPLAN EBVs and Selection Indexes through a mix of presentations and interactive discussions at the cattle yards. The BullSELECT workshops also covered how beef producers could access BREEDPLAN information, and how this information could be used when selecting bulls for purchase.

Participants discussing bull selection at the More Beef from Pastures BullSELECT Workshop, held at WA College of Agriculture, Harvey during September 2015.

Given that a bull will have a major impact on the genetic direction of the herd for many years to come, it is important that beef producers select the bull that best suits their breeding objectives and thus will bring the most benefit to their herd. A highlight of the BullSELECT workshop is the mock Helmsman auction which allows workshop participants to put into practice what they have learned throughout the day. Workshop participants were split into teams of 3-4, and had to select a bull or team of bulls to bid on. Participants take part in a mock auction exercise at the More Beef from Pastures BullSELECT Workshop, held at WA College of Agriculture, Narrogin during September 2015.

The mock Helmsman auctions were enjoyed by all, with much serious bidding taking place at each of the workshops. Following the mock Helmsman auction, each team was asked to justify their purchase decisions to the whole group. Thanks to Denmark Ag College and Harvey Ag College for supplying the bulls for the mock auction at the Denmark and Harvey workshops, and to Sandy and Terry Woods (pictured) of Terraneil Poll Herefords for trucking down 10 young Hereford bulls for the Narrogin workshop. Individual seedstock breeders, groups of seedstock breeders, private consultants, State departments of Agricultural or any others interested in hosting a BullSELECT Workshop can contact staff at SBTS or TBTS to register their expression of interest. Further information, including a workshop program, is available from the SBTS (http://www.sbts.une.edu.au) or TBTS (http:// www.tbts.une.edu.au) websites.

Sandy and Terry Woods, of Terraneil Poll Herefords, supplied 10 young bulls for the BullSELECT Workshop held at Narrogin 

13


‘BREEDPLAN Basics’ Webinar Presentations Now Available Online

I

n August 2015, SBTS and TBTS ran a webinar series entitled ‘BREEDPLAN Basics’. This webinar series was designed to provide beef producers and industry personnel with an overview of BREEDPLAN and further increase knowledge of BREEDPLAN traits, EBVs, EBV accuracy and selection indexes. The webinar series comprised 5 one hour presentations, which were presented by staff at Southern Beef Technology Services (SBTS) and Tropical Beef Technology Services (TBTS). The topics presented during the webinar series included: 1. Getting Started With BREEDPLAN Figure 2. Attendees were asked how long they had been a BREEDPLAN member. The webinar series attracted both relatively new BREEDPLAN members and long term BREEDPLAN members.

2. BREEDPLAN Traits - Weight and Carcase Traits 3. BREEDPLAN Traits - Fertility, Calving Ease and Other Traits

few breeders who do not currently performance record with BREEDPLAN (Figure 2). Of the BREEDPLAN members who attended the webinar series, there was a range of BREEDPLAN members, from those that have been performance recording with BREEDPLAN for less than 12 months right through to members who have been performance recording with BREEDPLAN for over 20 years (Figure 2).

4. Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) in Detail 5. Understanding Selection Indexes The webinars were well attended, with a total audience of 80 individuals and an average attendance of 39 per webinar. The webinar attendees represented a wide range of breeds and locations, coming from Australia and overseas. As Figure 1 shows, the webinar attendees represented both seedstock and

All presentations from the ‘BREEDPLAN Basics’ webinar series are now available to view online. To view the webinars, go to the webinars page on the SBTS (http://sbts.une.edu.au) or TBTS (http://tbts.une.edu.au) websites. From the homepage, select ‘Webinars’ from the left hand menu and then click on the title of the presentation of interest. Alternatively, all webinars can be accessed on the SBTS & TBTS YouTube channel (https:// www.youtube.com/user/sbtstbts).

commercial beef producers. A number of other beef industry personnel also attended the webinar series (Figure 1). While the webinars attracted a number of existing BREEDPLAN members, the webinars were also well attended by quite a

Figure 1. Attendees were surveyed to identify whether they were commercial or stud cattle breeders. The webinar series attracted a range of seedstock producers, commercial producers and other industry personnel.

14


Can Coronet Band Tapes Be Used To Accurately Predict Birth Weight? An Australian Hereford Case Study

B

irth weight is an important economic trait in beef production systems as lower birth weights are associated with reduced incidence of calving difficulty, but unfavourably correlated with growth rate. Careful recording of birth weight of calves allows beef producers to obtain EBVs for Birth Weight, which in turn helps in breeding to minimise calving difficulties while maintaining or increasing growth rate. When submitting birth weights to BREEDPLAN, it is important to note that birth weights will only be accepted if the calf has been weighed using scales. Visual estimates of birth weight and measurements of birth weight using coronet band tapes are not currently accepted by BREEDPLAN. This policy of not accepting use of estimates of birth weight from coronet band scores has been reviewed because of renewed interest in recent years the value of using coronet

MALE CALVES Coronet Band Measurement (cm)

FEMALE CALVES

Predicted Weight (kg)

Actual Weight Range (kg)

Predicted Weight (kg)

Actual Weight Range (kg)

16

27 kg

N/A

28 kg

30 - 38 kg

16.5

29 kg

32 - 41 kg

30 kg

28 - 41 kg

17

32 kg

31 - 39 kg

33 kg

28 - 42 kg

17.5

35 kg

29 - 44 kg

35 kg

28 - 45 kg

18

38 kg

33 - 46 kg

38 kg

32 - 48 kg

18.5

40 kg

33 - 50 kg

40 kg

32 - 50 kg

19

43 kg

39 - 52 kg

43 kg

37 - 48 kg

19.5

46 kg

44 - 54 kg

45 kg

41 - 49 kg

Table 1. The predicted weight (kg) and actual weight range (kg) for male and female Hereford calves for each coronet band measurement (cm).

15


band tapes to measure birth weight of calves. This interest

The AGBU study also estimated the genetic correlation

reflects a number of reasons, including:

between actual birth weight and the predicted birth weight from the Calfscale® tape (Table 2).

n

The expense of purchasing scales to weigh animals

n

The difficulty in transporting scales around the paddock

n

Scales can be prone to rust

n

Scales need to be checked regularly to ensure they are

When the male and female Hereford calves were analysed together, a genetic correlation of 0.69 (± 0.12) was observed (Table 2). This indicates that birth weight measured from a scale and birth weight predicted from the coronet band

accurate n

Calfscale® tape are not the same trait, although there are some

Calves can be difficult to manoeuvre and heavy to lift

genes which underpin the two traits.

A recent study conducted by the Animal Genetics and Breeding

The AGBU study also surveyed the participating beef

Unit (AGBU)* at the University of New England, Armidale,

producers to get their views on the ease of use of the Calfscale®

aimed to assess whether coronet band measurements are a

tape. One participant responded that the Calfscale® tape was

valid method for measuring birth weight of calves.

still time-consuming to use, and that he was not confident in

Records on 950 Hereford calves from four herds, born

how accurately he had collected the coronet band measure.

between March 2013 and June 2014, were used in the study.

A second participant responded saying that the Calfscale®

Each calf had a coronet band circumference measured using

tape was easy to use and seemed accurate, but he had the

the Calfscale® tape, and had also been weighed at birth using

calves restrained in a cradle when taking their coronet band

scales. All measurements were taken within 12 hours of the

measurements. As these responses show, the use of the

calf being born. Twin calves were removed from the dataset.

Calfscale® tape does not eliminate the handling, restraint and lifting of calves by beef producers collecting these

The results of the AGBU study indicate that the Calfscale® tape does not provide an accurate estimate of birth weight in

measurements.

Hereford calves. Instead, this study found that the Calfscale®

This study has shown that the Calfscale® tape does not predict

tape tends to overestimate the birth weight of the lighter calves,

actual birth weight with sufficient accuracy for use in genetic

and underestimate the birth weight of the heavier calves.

evaluation for Australian Hereford cattle.

The study also found that there was a large spread of actual

It is reasonable to assume that the coronet band tape will not

birth weight surrounding a single coronet band measurement

predict actual birth weight with sufficient accuracy in other

(Table 1).

breeds of Australian cattle. Therefore, beef producers wishing to record and submit birth weight measurements on their

This was seen across both male and female calves, across most

calves to BREEDPLAN, must continue to submit birth weights

coronet band measurements (Table 1). For example, a coronet

taken using scales.

band measurement of 17.5 cm was recorded for male calves that actually weighed between 29 kg and 44 kg, and for female

For further information on submitting birth weights to

calves which actually weighed between 28 kg and 45 kg (Table

BREEDPLAN, or for more information on this study, please

1).

contact staff at SBTS and TBTS.

*The research conducted by AGBU was supported by funds from Meat and Livestock Australia.

Sex of Calves

Genetic Correlation Between Actual Birth Weight and Predicted Birth Weight

Male

0.73 (± 0.19)

Female

0.55 (± 0.21)

Combined

0.69 (± 0.12)

Table 2. The genetic correlations between actual birth weight (scale) and predicted birth weight (coronet band tape) for male Hereford calves, female Hereford calves, and both sexes combined.

16


Enhancements to the BREEDPLAN Standard Error Graph

A

BRI’s Internet Solutions facility allows users to search their Breed Society’s database for a range of animal, member and EBV details. One of these search options is the ‘EBV Enquiry’ (also called ‘EBV Search’ for some breed societies), which allows users to search for and view the EBVs of individual animals. BREEDPLAN has also developed two graphs which can be accessed through the ‘EBV Enquiry’ area; these are the EBV Percentile graph and the EBV Standard Error graph. These graphs are currently available for a number of breed societies using BREEDPLAN.

To display the EBV Standard Error graph for the particular individual, click on the ‘Switch graph’ button at the bottom.

Following feedback from a number of BREEDPLAN members, there have recently been some enhancements made to the EBV Standard Error graph display. These enhancements should make it easier for BREEDPLAN members to interpret the EBV Standard Error graphs. The most recent enhancements include: n

Colour coding the trait groups in the EBV Standard Error graph (as currently done for the EBV Percentiles graph). Individual traits have been grouped into calving traits (yellow), growth traits (green), fertility traits (red), carcase traits (blue) and other traits (purple).

n

Moving the accuracy column to the right hand side of the graph. This makes it easier for users to view the accuracy associated with each EBV.

n

Removing the footer from the EBV Standard Error graph.

n

Co-ordinated labelling of the EBV Standard Error graph across breed societies. This makes it easier for individuals who are members of multiple breed societies to interpret the EBV Standard Error graphs.

The EBV Standard Error graph provides an indication of the possible change in EBVs for each trait. The horizontal bar for each trait displays one standard error either side of the current EBV value; statistically there is a 67% chance that the true breeding value for this trait will be within this range. Therefore, as more performance information is added for this animal, we would expect the EBV to fall within the EBV range displayed on the graph 67% of the time.

Users can find the EBV graphs for an individual animal by logging into Internet Solutions and displaying EBVs for an individual animal of interest (via the EBV Enquiry/EBV Search tab). Clicking on the graph icon at the top left hand side of the EBV display will then display the EBV Percentiles graph.

The breed average values are listed in the centre of the graph and reflect the average EBVs of current animals within the breed (e.g. all two year old animals). The minimum and maximum EBV values displayed at the left and right of the graph for each trait represent four standard deviations from the current breed average values; they are not the minimum and maximum EBV values for the breed. The spread of standard error surrounding an EBV (the hortizontal bars either side of the EBV) is a reflection of the accuracy associated with that EBV. When an animal has an EBV with high accuracy, there is less chance of the EBV changing, even when new performance information is 17


added to BREEDPLAN. In contrast, when the EBV has a low accuracy, there is a greater chance of the EBV changing as new performance information is added to BREEDPLAN.

In contrast, the individual shown in B) is a young animal with low accuracy EBVs. Compared to the high accuracy sire, the horizontal bars surrounding his EBVs are much wider, reflecting that his EBVs could change substantially as more performance information is added to BREEDPLAN.

In Figure 1, the individual shown in A) is a high accuracy sire with accuracies of 90% and above for all traits displayed. Therefore, there is a lesser chance of his EBVs changing even with the addition of new performance data. This is reflected in the short horizontal bars surrounding his EBVs.

Should you have any questions regarding the EBV Standard Error graph, please contact staff at Southern Beef Technology Services (SBTS) or Tropical Beef Technology Services (TBTS).

Figure 1. The EBV Standard Error graphs for A) a high accuracy sire with accuracies of 90% and above for all traits displayed and B) a young bull with low accuracy EBVs. The horizontal bar for each trait displays one standard error either side of the current EBV value; statistically there is a 67% chance that the true breeding value for this trait will be within this range. The horizontal bars for the younger bull are wider, indiciating that there is less accuracy around his EBVs compared to the EBVs of the older, high accuracy bull.

18


New Data Submission Feedback Protocols for Brahman, Charolais and Hereford BREEDPLAN Members

T

here have been some recent changes in the feedback that Brahman, Charolais and Hereford BREEDPLAN members receive from BREEDPLAN following the processing of performance data. Brahman, Charolais and Hereford BREEDPLAN members will now receive an automatically generated email from BREEDPLAN following the processing of their data. This email will contain:

1. A summary of performance data added to the database This report gives BREEDPLAN members a summary of the performance data which has been successfully added to the database. The report gives the number of records added to the database for a particular trait, split by observation date, calving year and sex of the animals. In addition, the minimum, maximum and average data values and animal age (days) are also provided for each trait. This summary report will make it easier for BREEDPLAN members to assess the performance data that they have submitted to BREEDPLAN for their herd.

2. A pre-analysis check When the difference between a performance record for an animal and the average of all animals in the contemporary group is greater than expected for a particular trait, then the performance record is flagged as an outlier and is excluded from the BREEDPLAN analysis. Previously, Brahman, Charolais and Hereford BREEDPLAN members have been unable to correct or verify outliers until after the performance data has been through a monthly GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis. The preanalysis check report gives Brahman, Charolais and Hereford BREEDPLAN members the opportunity to correct or verify the performance data for the animals that have been flagged as outliers, as soon as the performance data has been processed. Performance records which have been flagged as outliers are marked in bold with the # symbol in the left and right hand margins, and adjacent to the Raw Observation. Please follow the same process as for any outlier report; check each group of records carefully and then inform BREEDPLAN staff as to the status of the outliers. The pre-analysis check will not replace outlier checks, which will continue to be undertaken as part of the GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis.

Importantly, while all Brahman, Charolais and Hereford BREEDPLAN members submitting performance data to BREEDPLAN will receive the automatically generated email described above, only those members who have submitted data that failed the update checks (e.g. data submitted for unregistered/pending animals, data submitted on animals which are too old/too young) will receive a second email from BREEDPLAN which outlines these issues. It is expected that the new data submission feedback protocols will be rolled out throughout 2016 to other breed societies who are currently using the ILR2 system. 19


Enhancements to Angus BREEDPLAN

A

number of enhancements have been implemented in the December 2015 Angus BREEDPLAN analysis. These enhancements are part of the ongoing

maintenance and improvement to the Angus BREEDPLAN genetic evaluation. In most cases, the enhancements are not expected to have any significant effect on the EBV ranking of animals.

Revisions to Calculation of Docility EBVs With over 70,000 animals scored for docility since the introduction of the Trial Docility EBVs in March 2011, the Animal Genetics & Breeding Unit (AGBU) have reviewed the

• The emphasis placed on all GeneSeek genomic predictions

calculation of Docility EBVs.

within Angus BREEDPLAN has been revised for all traits.

Resulting from this review: n The

The emphasis can be described as the accuracy of the EBV

heritability of docility has been re-estimated and

that would be generated if the EBV was calculated from only

subsequently increased from 0.25 to 0.26; n The

the genomic prediction (i.e. there was no other information

analytical model has been modified to enable the

recorded with Angus BREEDPLAN).

analysis of half scores (i.e. docility scores of 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 and The analytical model now pre-adjusts for age, age of dam

Inclusion of Additional Genomic Information

and sex effects, in addition to contemporary group effect.

In association with the updating of the parameters used to

4.5); n

incorporate GeneSeek GGP genomic predictions, genomic

In association with the implementation of these revisions, the

predictions for any animals previously tested with the GeneSeek

word “Trial” has been removed from the name of the EBV, with

GGP-LD or GGP-HD products has now been included in the

the Docility EBV now considered a standard EBV within the Angus BREEDPLAN analysis.

Angus BREEDPLAN analysis.

Re-estimated Parameters for Incorporation of GeneSeek Genomic Predictions

This represents GeneSeek genomic predictions for over 4000

The Animal Genetics & Breeding Unit have conducted research

projects.

animals, predominantly tested within either the Angus Sire Benchmarking Program or previous Beef CRC genotyping

to update the parameters that determine the emphasis placed Genomic Profiler products (GGP-LD & GGP-HD) when

Revisions to Minimum EBV Accuracy Reportability Thresholds

incorporating this information in the calculation of Angus

The minimum accuracy thresholds that must be met before

on the genomic predictions calculated from the GeneSeek

BREEDPLAN EBVs.

EBVs are published within the Angus BREEDPLAN analysis have been considerably revised.

Resulting from this research: • The number of traits for which GeneSeek GGP genomic

The previous minimum accuracy thresholds were quite

predictions are incorporated into Angus BREEDPLAN

complicated, with different thresholds utilised for different

has increased from 9 to 11, with genomic predictions now

traits, and different thresholds subject to whether an animal

incorporated for Calving Ease Direct and Calving Ease

had either performance recorded or genomic information

Daughters.

included in BREEDPLAN. Further, some EBVs were published 20


as a block, where all traits were published if any of the traits

The new protocols are available from the Angus Australia website and provide clearer guidance to members interesting in collecting abattoir carcase information for genetic evaluation.

individually met the minimum accuracy threshold. EBVs across all traits will now be published within Angus

Revised Protocol for the Inclusion of Birth Weight Information

BREEDPLAN if they have an accuracy value of 25% or higher. This change will result in a greater range of EBVs being published for most animals. It is however important to be

The protocols for the collection and submission of birth weight information to Angus BREEDPLAN have been amended.

aware that EBVs will now be published with a lower accuracy than what would have previously been required.

Specifically, the protocols now explicitly articulate that the collection of birth weights using coronet band tapes are not suitable for Angus BREEDPLAN. All birth weights must be accurately recorded using appropriate weighing scales.

Availability of EBV Standard Error EBV Graph A new graph has been made available when viewing animals

Increase in Maximum Number of Search Results Displayed on EBV Search Facility

within the EBV Enquiry facility on the Angus Australia website. The new graph, known as the EBV Standard Error graph, provides an indication of the possible change in an animal’s

Modifications have been made to increase the maximum number of results displayed when conducting searches on the EBV Search facility on the Angus Australia website from 300 to 2000 animals.

EBVs for each trait. The horizontal bar for each trait displays one standard error either side of the current EBV value, meaning that statistically, the animal’s true breeding value will fall within the EBV range displayed in the graph on 7 out of 10

The increase in the maximum limit will provide greater flexibility to members when conducting searches.

occasions.

Updated EBV Standard Error Table

Further Information

The standard error table that provides an indication of the

To further discuss any of the enhancements that have been implemented in the December 2015 Angus BREEDPLAN analysis, please contact Angus Australia’s Breed Development & Extension Manager, Andrew Byrne on (02) 6773 4618 or via email andrew@angusaustralia.com.au. Additional information regarding each enhancement is also available from the Angus Australia website.

possible change in Angus BREEDPLAN EBVs at different levels of accuracy will be updated shortly. Specifically, standard errors will now be displayed for all traits, and for a greater range of accuracy values. The updated standard error table will be made available from the Angus Australia website.

Updated Trial Structural Soundness EBVs The Animal Genetics & Breeding Unit has recalculated Trial Structural Soundness EBVs for animals with structural score information recorded on the Angus Australia database. Updated Trial Structural Soundness EBVs for individual animals can be viewed on the EBV Search facility on the Angus Australia website.

Updated EPD Information for Overseas Animals A revised set of EPDs has been included in the December 2015 Angus BREEDPLAN analysis for imported American and Canadian Black and Red Angus animals.

Protocols Established for the Inclusion of Abattoir Carcase Information Protocols have been established for the collection and submission of abattoir carcase information to Angus BREEDPLAN. 21


Net Feed Intake: Feedlot (NFI-F) EBVs Now Available For Hereford Animals

H

erefords Australia recently published EBVs for Net Feed Intake with the release of the Net Feed Intake – Feedlot (NFI-F) EBV following the November 2015 Hereford GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis. The release of the NFI-F EBV was made possible following the collection of feed intake data from Hereford BIN project steers from cohorts one, two and three. Historical feed intake records were also used in the calculation of the new NFI-F EBVs. The NFI-F EBVs are estimates of genetic differences between animals in feed intake at a standard weight and rate of weight gain when animals are in a feedlot finishing phase. NFI-F EBVs are expressed as kilograms (kg) of feed intake per day. Lower, or more negative, NFI-F EBVs are more favourable. For example, a bull with a NFI-F EBV of –0.6 kg/day would be expected to produce progeny that eat less feed per day than the progeny from a bull that has a NFI-F EBV of +0.8 kg/day (when the progeny are of similar weight, are growing at a similar rate, and are in a feedlot finishing phase). NFI-F EBVs are now routinely calculated as part of the monthly Hereford GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis. NFI-F EBVs for individual animals can be viewed in BREEDPLAN herd reports and on the Hereford online animal search facility (i.e. Internet Solutions).

Enhancements to Simmental BREEDPLAN

I

n 2016, several enhancements will be made to the Simmental GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis. These enhancements will include updates to the genetic parameters used in the Simmental GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis. These changes will result in the calculation of improved BREEDPLAN EBVs for Simmental animals.

22


Monthly GROUP BREEDPLAN Analyses for Australian Composite & Devon

I

n 2015, both Belmont Australia and the Devon Cattle Breeders’ Society of Australia upgraded the software used to manage their pedigree and performance database to 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 GROUP BREEDPLAN herd reports.

This will significantly enhance the BREEDPLAN service that is provided to members of Australian Composite BREEDPLAN and Devon BREEDPLAN.

Enhancements to Shorthorn BREEDPLAN

A

number of significant enhancements will be applied in January 2016 to the BREEDPLAN software that is used to calculate EBVs within the Shorthorn GROUP

BREEDPLAN analysis. These enhancements will result in the calculation of improved BREEDPLAN EBVs for Shorthorn Beef animals.

Upgrade to BREEDPLAN Version 6.2 The latest version of the BREEDPLAN software allows several enhancements to be made to the Shorthorn GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis. These enhancements include updates to the genetic parameters used in the analysis and the ability to incorporate genomic prediction information (e.g. DNA

in days and are calculated from the joining records submitted

information) into the analysis in the future.

for both heifers and cows. The Days to Calving EBV promotes

Introduction of a Days to Calving (DtC) EBV

females that calve earlier in the calving season and deliver a calf every year. Lower, or more negative Days to Calving EBVs are

The new Shorthorn Days to Calving EBV will be released

generally more favourable.

following the January 2016 Shorthorn GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis. The Days to Calving EBV is an estimate of genetic

If you have any questions regarding the enhancements to

differences between animals in the time from the start of the

Shorthorn GROUP BREEDPLAN please contact Catriona

joining period (when the female is introduced to the bull)

Millen, Shorthorn Beef SBTS Technical Officer on 02 6773 3357

until subsequent calving. Days to Calving EBVs are expressed

or via email catriona@sbts.une.edu.au. 23


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

Catriona Millen

Blonde d’Aquitaine Charolais Devon Gelbvieh Hereford Murray Grey

Red Angus Red Poll Salers Shorthorn South Devon Speckle Park

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) 6773 4618

Carel Teseling

Wagyu

carel@wagyu.org.au (02) 6773 4222

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 24

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Summer 2015 SBTS & TBTS Update  

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