Summer 2018 SBTS & TBTS Update

Page 1


Enhancements to the BreedObject Selection Index Software


hat is BreedObject and what are Selection Indexes? Selection Indexes assist beef producers make

“balanced” selection decisions, taking into account the relevant growth, carcase, fertility and efficiency attributes of each animal to identify the animal that are the most profitable for a particular commercial enterprise. Like breeding values (EBVs), Selection Index technology is a well-established, science based methodology that is used in many livestock species around the world. Selection Indexes provide an overall “score” of an animal’s genetic value for profit for a specific production system and are calculated based on weightings placed on individual traits that are deemed to be important for that production system. As such, Selection Indexes reflect both the short term profit generated by a bull through the sale of his progeny, and the longer term profit generated by his daughters if they are retained in the herd. Despite the indexes typically having market - orientated names,

influences profitability and the economic value of improving

they are as much concerned with the costs of production as they

each trait.

are with market returns. Thus they reflect both sides of the profit

3. The BreedObject software then assesses what emphasis needs

equation for a beef production system.

to be applied to each EBV trait to achieve the maximum

The Selection Indexes calculated by BREEDPLAN are generated

profitability in the production system and market end point

using a software package called BreedObject. The BreedObject

for which that index was designed.

technology was developed by the Animal Genetics and Breeding

4. The importance placed on each EBV results in the Index

Unit (AGBU), a joint venture of NSW Department of Primary

value that is calculated for each animal.

Industries and the University of New England, with financial

Recent Developments in the BreedObject Software

assistance from Meat and Livestock Australia. The BreedObject selection index development process involves four major steps.

(warning technical content ahead in this section)

These are:

Like BREEDPLAN, research into improving the BreedObject

1. A detailed description of the input costs and value generation

methodology is ongoing and recently a new version of the

of the commercial herd and target market system.

BreedObject software has been made available by AGBU. New developments in this version of the BreedObject software

2. Once the target production systems have been described, the BreedObject software then evaluates how each trait


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


Improved modelling of young animal growth. This includes:

> Separate modelling for each sex rather than assuming there is a fixed difference between them. This gives the potential for each sex to have different market end points in a Selection Index.


> Revised modelling of growth during backgrounding and in the feedlot. > Revised modelling of feed requirements for young animals. This includes the ability to use NFI EBVs in Selection Indexes (where available).

Enhancements to the BreedObject Selection Index Software


Australian Wagyu Association Releases New Selection Indexes 4 2019 SBTS & TBTS Regional Forums 4 New SBTS & TBTS Websites



Northern Multibreed Research Data Included in Brahman and Santa Gertrudis BREEDPLAN Analyses 9 SBTS Facilitates BullSELECT Workshop for Pelican Rise Limousin


Beefing Up Knowledge in the North

Improved modelling of cow weight and condition score throughout the year. This includes:

> More advanced modelling of cow weight, and subsequently feed requirements, at times of year when feed is in short supply and/or expensive. > Inclusion of cow condition score and production penalties for cows outside of optimum condition (too lean or too fat). > Revised methodology for valuing cows when culled. This allows for variation in sale weight and value between cows culled for various reasons (e.g. cast for age, reproductive failure, poor condition, etc.). n

Completeness of Performance Short Videos Now Available


Enhanced modelling of carcase market specifications and values.

> This includes the ability to handle non-linear price structures like carcase grids that penalise both too lean and too fat carcases, and/or those that penalise under and overweight carcases. These developments have changed how EBVs are valued in Selection Indexes. In particular, the enhanced modelling of cow weight increases the impact that total cow feed costs (i.e. length of feeding + feed price + feed quality) have on the profitability of the represented commercial production systems. For example, recent research showed that altering the cost and/or length of time of supplementary feeding has a larger effect on the indexes produced in the new BreedObject software than in past versions. This result demonstrates that the new software can construct indexes that can be tailored to the different production environments that are found across Australia where variation in cow feed costs exist.


TBTS Regional Forum at Rockhampton 12 BREEDPLAN Workshops for Breed Society Staff


DeSireBull - A New Tool to Assist Beef Producers Buy the “Right� Bulls


Save the Date AAABG 2019 Conference


Congratulations Tim and Kelly 15 Accessing Support in Application of Genetic Technologies 16


IV. Consider other traits of importance that aren’t included in the index. E.g. structure, vBBSE results, docility, genetic conditions, pedigree and horn/poll status.

The new BreedObject software also contains developments to allow for the future inclusion of new traits in the Selection Indexes. These components are yet to be implemented but give an indication of some of the data which may be valuable for breeders to collect for the future. The data includes: n

Methane (carbon) valuing (where desired).


The incidence of and possible penalties within the herd (e.g. loss of production, lower sale value) for animals with undesirable:

Selection Indexes describe what to expect from progeny on average for the described production system and market end point. They do not describe how bulls themselves will perform, for example during joining. As mentioned above, issues of structural and reproductive soundness (e.g. VBBSE) still need to be assessed on those animals to ensure that the animal is capable of performing its role. It is also important to note that Selection Indexes are like the other BREEDPLAN EBVs in that a Selection Index value in one breed is not comparable to Selection Index values in any other breed, even if the Selection Indexes have the same or similar names. It is also not appropriate to compare animals across different indexes within each breed, as each index is based on different production models and costings.

> Leg structure. > Docility. > Udder conformation. Current Developments in BreedObject Selection Indexes SBTS and TBTS, in conjunction with the relevant breed societies, have commenced the redevelopment of Selection

Where to find more information on BreedObject and Selection Indexes

Indexes for a number of breeds. The Australian Wagyu Association is the first to complete their redevelopments and released three new indexes in October 2018 (see article on page 4). It is anticipated that there will be a number of other societies following suit in the coming year.

Tip sheets on Selection Indexes can be found on the BREEDPLAN website and more detail on BreedObject can be found at BreedObject.html .

There have also been a number of societies currently without any selection indexes who have expressed interest in developing them. While a full suite of well recorded EBVs (including calving ease, mature cow weight and days to calving) is desirable for BreedObject, development of selection indexes is possible without these EBVs being reported. SBTS and TBTS will be working with the individual breed societies towards the development of their indexes.

SBTS & TBTS wish to thank Dr. Brad Walmsley from AGBU for his contributions to this article.

Using BreedObject Selection Indexes Incorporating Selection Index information into selection decisions takes the hard work out of trying to decide how much emphasis you need to put on individual EBVs when determining which animals you want to retain in your herd or purchase. The recommended strategy for utilising Selection Index information is to complete the following steps: I. Identify the Selection Index of most relevance to your breeding objective. If users are interested in more than one type of commercial production system and/or purpose, then multiple Selection Indexes are required (e.g. terminal mating vs. self-replacing). Do NOT select the index based on which has the highest values as it may not be representative of your production system and result in animals not suited to your production system being selected. II. Rank animals on the Selection Index. This can be done easily on the BREEDPLAN website. III. Consider the individual EBVs of importance. For example, look for low to moderate Birth Weight EBVs for heifer bulls. 3

Australian Wagyu Association Releases New Selection Indexes


he Australian Wagyu Association (AWA) has announced the implementation of its three new BreedObject Selection Indexes. This is a significant

Fullblood Terminal Index (FTI) – estimates the genetic

step forward for Wagyu breeders to achieve faster rates of

in which all progeny are sold as feeders for feedlot finishing.

genetic gain and selection for profitability in Wagyu.

Steers are assumed to be slaughtered at 32 months after 550

differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined in a commercial Fullblood or Purebred Wagyu herd

days of feedlot finishing targeting 435kg carcases. Heifers

The AWA CEO, Dr Matt McDonagh affirmed that each of

are slaughtered at 29 months after 450 days of feedlot

the new Wagyu Selection Indexes are targeted specifically

finishing targeting 385kg carcases. No heifers are retained

to a defined production and market scenario and that

for breeding and therefore maternal traits are not of

members should identify and use the index that best suits their purpose.

importance in this $Index. There is a significant premium

It is not appropriate to compare index

for carcases that exhibit superior marbling.

values of different Indexes as they are based on different

F1 Terminal Index (F1 Index) – estimates the genetic

production model assumptions. “It is not the index with the

differences between animals in net profitability per cow

highest $ value that you should use, it is the index that best reflects your production system,” Matt said.

joined for an F1 production system using Wagyu bulls and

The three new Wagyu selection indexes are:

for feedlot finishing. Steers and heifers are assumed to be

non-Wagyu females where all progeny are sold as feeders slaughtered at 28 months after 370 days of feedlot finishing

Self-Replacing Breeding Index (SRI) – estimates the genetic

targeting carcase weights of 420kg and 387kg respectively.

differences between animals in net profitability per cow

No heifers are retained for breeding and therefore

joined in a commercial Fullblood or Purebred Wagyu self-

maternal traits are not of importance in this Index. There

replacing herd. Heifers are retained for breeding and steers

is a significant premium for carcases that exhibit superior

and surplus females are sold as feeders for feedlot finishing. Steers are assumed to be slaughtered at 32 months after 550


days of feedlot finishing targeting 435kg carcases. Heifers

Further information on the new Wagyu selection indexes

are retained for breeding and therefore maternal traits

can be found on the AWA website: https://www.wagyu.

are of importance. Steers and surplus females that exhibit Alternatively, contact Carel

superior marbling will attract a significant premium for the

Teseling, SBTS Technical Officer for Wagyu on (02) 8880


7703 or via email





In 2019, SBTS & TBTS will be offering a two day

Day two has been designed for beef producers that

Regional Forum at 14 locations around Australia. Day

wish to gain a deeper understanding of the applications

one will cover BREEDPLAN fundamentals, while day

of DNA technology for beef breeding, and will assume

two covers how to get the most out of BREEDPLAN

attendees have a good knowledge of the topics covered

via DNA technologies.

on day one. The day will cover parentage verification, genetic conditions and the use of DNA information

The SBTS & TBTS Regional Forums have been designed

in BREEDPLAN analyses. BREEDPLAN herds will also

to be interactive, with discussion sessions occurring

be provided with a genetic progress report, which will

throughout the day. This allows for producers to learn

allow them to benchmark their current genetic position

from each other and share their own experiences on

and identify whether they have made genetic progress

how to best utilise BREEDPLAN in their business.

for each trait in recent years.

Day one has been designed for cattle breeders that


are new to BREEDPLAN or who wish to refresh their BREEDPLAN knowledge. The day will cover the role of

SBTS & TBTS strongly encourage beef producers to

genetics in beef breeding and outline the BREEDPLAN

attend both days of the Regional Forum. Multiple

process (including data collection and submission).

attendees from a single beef operation are also

Attendees will also learn how to get the most from

encouraged to attend. Price includes morning tea and

BREEDPLAN and how to interpret BREEDPLAN reports

lunch. Please advise at the time of booking if you have

for their herd.

any dietary requirements.





2 days

SBTS+ or TBTS+ Stakeholder Breed Society Members

$150 for first person $80 for additional persons

$75 for first person $40 for additional persons

1 day

SBTS or TBTS Stakeholder Breed Society Members

$90 for first person $40 for additional persons

$90 for first person $40 for additional persons

2 days

Non SBTS or TBTS Stakeholder Breed Society Members

$250 per person

$125 per person

1 day

Non SBTS or TBTS Stakeholder Breed Society Members

$150 per person

$150 per person


SBTS Stakeholders = Blonde d’Aquitaine, Charolais, Devon, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Limousin, Murray Grey, Red Angus, Red Poll, Salers, Shorthorn, Simmental, Speckle Park & Wagyu. +

TBTS Stakeholders = Belmont Red, Brahman, Brangus, Droughtmaster, Santa Gertrudis, Senepol & Simbrah.

Includes 30c non-refundable booking fee per ticket. Additional persons are considered to be from the one beef operation.


Cancellation policy: Full refunds will be given if the SBTS office is notified one week or more before the date of the scheduled Regional Forum that participants are unable to attend. No refunds will be given for notification within one week of date of each scheduled workshop.



n n






26/3/19 - 27/3/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Armidale, NSW

29/4/19 - 30/4/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Albury, NSW

2/5/19 - 3/5/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Launceston, TAS

20/5/19 - 21/5/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Toowoomba, QLD

5/6/19 - 6/6/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Rockhampton, QLD

8/7/19 - 9/7/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Muswellbrook, NSW

10/7/19 - 11/7/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Orange, NSW

25/7/19 - 26/7/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Albany, WA

29/7/19 - 30/7/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Bunbury, WA

31/7/19 - 1/8/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Perth, WA

3/9/19 & 4/9/19

9.00am - 3.30pm

Warragul, VIC

5/9/19 & 6/9/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Melbourne Airport, VIC

5/11/19 & 6/11/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Coonawarra, SA

7/11/19 & 8/11/19

8.45am - 3.30pm

Hahndorf, SA

Bookings can be made online. To register, follow the booking link for the Regional Forum you wish to attend. Alternatively, visit the ‘Upcoming Events’ page on the SBTS or TBTS websites and register via the links displayed. Please note that bookings will close one week prior to the event.




8.45am - 9.00am


9.00am - 10.45am

Welcome The Role of Genetics in Beef Breeding BREEDPLAN: From Paddock to EBVs

10.45am - 11.00am

Morning Tea

11.00am - 12.30pm

BREEDPLAN: Analysis and Beyond Making BREEDPLAN Work For You

12.30pm - 1.00pm


1.00pm - 3.30pm

BREEDPLAN Resources BREEDPLAN Completeness of Performance Utilising BREEDPLAN to Improve Your Herd Feedback & Closing Remarks

3.30 pm




8.45am - 9.00am


9.00am - 10.45am

Welcome BREEDPLAN Refresher Benchmarking Your Herd: CoP and Genetic Progress

10.45am - 11.00am

Morning Tea

11.00am - 12.30pm

DNA Technology for Beef Breeders: Parentage Verification DNA Technology for Beef Breeders: Genetic Conditions

12.30pm - 1.00pm


1.00pm - 3.30pm

DNA Technology for Beef Breeders: Single-Step BREEDPLAN What Does DNA Technology Mean for You? Feedback & Closing Remarks

3.30 pm




For Further Information

(02) 6773 3357

Please Contact:

0409 102 644

Catriona Millen

SBTS Technical Officer


New SBTS & TBTS Websites


ew-look websites for the SBTS and TBTS projects were launched on 30th November 2018. The websites have been updated to have a more modern

which outline the role of EBVs as a tool in animal selection, and information on which traits are of particular importance when selecting bulls for specific roles (e.g. targeting MSA markets).

appearance. This includes a new layout, which should make

In addition to the dedicated seedstock and commercial producer sections, the websites also provide an overview of each of the projects, information on upcoming SBTS & TBTS events and staff contact details. While the websites have been re-designed, the web addresses remain the same. The SBTS website can be found at while the TBTS

navigating the websites easier and more intuitive. Furthermore, the websites have been designed to be compatible with mobile phones and iPads, meaning that individuals should be able to easily view the websites when using these devices. The new websites now include dedicated sections for both

website can be found at

seedstock and commercial producers. In the seedstock section, producers will find services and resources to assist with breeding better cattle. For example, the seedstock section includes information on upcoming regional forums and a range of technical notes that cover topics from performance recording through to the uses of DNA technology in cattle breeding. In the commercial section, producers will find services and resources to assist with utilising BREEDPLAN EBVs when

The new SBTS & TBTS websites have been re-designed to have a more modern appearance and to be compatible with a range of screen sizes.

making animal selection decisions, including information on BullSELECT workshops. There are also a range of articles

Completeness of Performance Short Videos Now Available


onfused about how to interpret your BREEDPLAN Completeness of Performance report? Not sure how the BREEDPLAN Completeness of Performance star

your Completeness of Performance star rating, and what measures you can take to do so.

rating system works? Or simply trying to improve the amount

Each herd is given a score for animal

of performance data you collect in your herd? Then head to the

details, weight traits, carcase traits,

SBTS & TBTS YouTube channel where two short videos on the

birth and fertility traits, and, for some

BREEDPLAN Completeness of Performance product are now

breeds, other traits. By identifying areas where you are not


getting close to the maximum score, you can come up with

The first video, presented by Boyd Gudex (SBTS), outlines

strategies to improve. It could be as simple as running the

the BREEDPLAN Completeness of Performance system, and

cows over the scales when you take a 200 day weight on their

explains how to interpret your Completeness of Performance

calf (thus collecting Mature Cow Weights), or considering

report. This report allows producers to quantify how much performance data they have submitted to BREEDPLAN, by

collecting scrotal size records when you take 400 day weights

trait and by calving year.

on your male calves, rather than waiting to do so when

Going through your report allows you to “stocktake� your

collecting 600 day weights.

performance recording, and ensure that all data you have

Next time you grab a tea or coffee, take 20 minutes to watch

collected has been submitted to BREEDPLAN.

both Completeness of Performance videos on YouTube. The

The second video, presented by Catriona Millen (SBTS),

SBTS & TBTS YouTube channel can be found here: http://

explains how to identify areas in which you could improve 8

Northern Multibreed Research Data Included in Brahman and Santa Gertrudis BREEDPLAN Analyses


he Repronomics, Northern steer BIN and the past Beef CRC projects have generated large numbers of animals with intensive recording across many breeds. Data

includes over 5,000 animals that have been recorded for the full range of BREEDPLAN traits including: birth weight, 200, 400 and 600 day weights, mature cow weights, ultrasound scans, flight time, calving ease, abattoir carcase and meat quality traits. All females have days to calving records along with the new measures of heifer age at puberty and lactation anoestrous interval of first-calf cows. Within the Repronomics and BIN Projects the Brahmans, Droughtmasters and Santa Gertrudis at Brian Pastures and Brahmans and Droughtmasters at Spyglass have run together and not in individual breed groups (the only exception is during a 12 week mating period when they are split into their breed groups). A research database (Multibreed Research Database Northern) is being used to accommodate the data from these

Brahman, Droughtmaster and Santa Gertrudis Steers running together at Brian Pastures prior to feedlot

projects. Most of these animals also have SNP genotypes and the inclusion of this data will add significantly to the size of

BREEDPLAN run with the addition of a number of significant

the genomics reference population for the three breeds. In

BREEDPLAN software enhancements as well.

turn, this will help drive increased EBV accuracies through the

The inclusion of the large amount of research data allowed the

Single-Step BREEDPLAN evaluation in Brahmans initially and

Brahman analysis to move to a full crossbred configuration.

Droughtmasters and Santa Gertrudis in the future.

This allows both purebred and crossbred Brahman animals,

In August 2018 Brahman became the first breed to use

if running together, to remain in the same contemporary

the Multibreed research data in the Brahman Single-Step

group, and for their performance to be adjusted for heterosis. Previously, Brahman BREEDPLAN was running a restricted crossbred analysis where crossbred Brahman animals were included in the analysis by contemporary grouping them based on their breed code. Following the implementation of a full crossbred analysis model for Brahman, the resultant EBVs on crossbred Brahman animals are now directly comparable with EBVs of purebred Brahman animals. In February 2019 Santa Gertrudis will make the transition to a full crossbred analysis model and include the Multibreed data as well. It is expected that Droughtmaster will also transition to the full crossbred analysis and the inclusion of the Multibreed

Brahman, Droughtmaster and Santa Gertrudis heifers running together at Brian Pastures

data at a later date. 9

SBTS Facilitates BullSELECT Workshop for Pelican Rise Limousin


n November 2018, SBTS facilitated a BullSELECT workshop at Colac, Victoria. The workshop was hosted by Chris and Marilyn Meade of Pelican Rise Limousins and

participants and reflected why one bull is not the perfect bull for everyone. A review of the pre and post workshop surveys of attendees

was attended by approximately 20 current and potential bull

revealed a 20% increase in BullSELECT knowledge due to

buyers and stock agents.

the workshop. Furthermore, when asked (post workshop) to rate whether they were more likely to use BREEDPLAN

“The positive feedback I received on the day and over the

information when making purchasing decisions, all attendees

following week proved that this was a worthwhile event with one of the stock agents looking to expand this next year,” Chris

indicated that they would.

commented. “An added bonus was when an attendee returned

Also while in Colac, Boyd had the opportunity to meet and

to purchase a bull later in the week.”

talk to the Western Victoria Limousin Promotion group. The group discussed what data can be recorded for BREEDPLAN

The BullSELECT workshop combined practical discussion

and how the analysis performs its comparisons. It was a very

and yard demonstrations to educate beef producers about how

productive conversation with a lot of discussion back and forth

best to utilise BREEDPLAN information when making animal

about which information each breeder could and/or should

selection decisions.

collect and how.

Topics covered included understanding EBVs and selection

SBTS gratefully acknowledges the Chris and Marilyn Meade,

indexes, and using these along with a visual assessment of the

Pelican Rise Limousin, for hosting both the BullSELECT

bulls to select the most ideal bull for each producers operation.

workshop and promotional group meeting. For any breeders

Pelican Rise bulls were also on hand to demonstrate the

interested in hosting a BullSELECT workshop, further

difficulty in visually assessing the genetics of an animal without

information is available on the SBTS and TBTS websites.

EBVs and to be the subjects of the mock Helmsman auction

The cost of a BullSELECT workshop is $1000 (GST Inc.) for

that completed the day.

breeders who are members of SBTS or TBTS stakeholder

As is typical for a BullSELECT workshop, the auction bought

breed associations. If interested or for further information,

out some good hearted, yet competitive spirit between the

please contact SBTS or TBTS staff.


Beefing Up Knowledge in the North


he back end of 2018 saw the TBTS team, Paul Williams and Tim Emery, continue to make the most of opportunities to speak at producer events in

Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Tim kick-started the new financial year by heading down to Dirranbandi to deliver a full day of breeding and genetics content as a follow up event to the Tips & Topics day held in the region six months prior. Next up was the Belmont Red sale

Tim presenting at the Gyranda Open Day

and field day at Jandowae which drew a very strong crowd of

presentation at the third AgForce R & D Field Day held in the

100 attendees. Making use of the EBV percentile graph was promoted at this event and display bulls (with graphs attached

Arcadia Valley (55 attendees).

on the rail) were used to promote discussion. A flight to

In October, Paul was asked to speak at the Teys Australia

Katherine followed in late July/early August for a Breeding

Information Day in Biloela (primarily aimed at commercial

EDGE workshop and a handful of property visits.

producers) along with the Santa Gertrudis Delegates meeting in Toowoomba. Both events drew a significant crowd, 130

The annual Gyranda Open Day was held in mid-August and

and 60 respectively, with Paul providing an update on the

Tim once again showcased EBV percentile graphs, whilst Nick Corbet and Gregg Blatchly discussed walk over weighing

Repronomics Project and Northern BIN Project. Just prior to

to 70 attendees. To wrap up the month, the Burnett Mary

getting married in late October, Tim managed to squeeze in

Regional Group and DAF invited Tim to do a full day breeding

being part of the speaker lineup at the Augathella (56 attendees)

and genetics follow up workshop at Brian Pastures Research

and Mundubbera (69 attendees) MLA BeefUp Forums.

Station. Seventy producers and industry service providers

To round off speaking engagements for the year, Paul ventured to

packed out the conference room which was very pleasing.

the picturesque Alice Springs and Coral Bay in early November

September saw Paul once again upskilling the next generation

for two well-attended MLA BeefUp Forums, which attracted 74

about BREEDPLAN, presenting to 25 CQU Ag students in

and 55 participants respectively. Tim, on the other hand, stuck to

Rockhampton. For Tim, September proved to be a month

the tar and headed to Rockhampton for the FBA ‘Open The Gate’

where his voice got pushed to its limit. He co-presented in

Forum, which drew an 85-strong producer crowd. Nine well-

north Qld at two Breeding EDGE workshops near Cloncurry

known industry speakers covered some of the big industry topics

and Charters Towers and teamed up with Russell Lyons from

(financial management, business planning, communication

Neogen Australasia for a genetic technologies focused break-

and grazing land/nutritional/breeder management), with Tim

out session at the Spyglass MLA BeefUp Forum (216 attendees

being asked to speak on ‘How will using genetic tools improve

at the event). Additionally he gave ‘Zoom’ software a go for

my herd performance and bottom line?’ Next on the agenda for

the first time, enabling him to be able to deliver a PowerPoint

Tim was co-delivering with Peter Mahony and Russell Gray at

presentation to a handful of producers at both Jundah

the Gyranda hosted Bull Assessment Days in Charters Towers

and Aramac whilst being parked up on the side of the road

and Richmond. Over the two events, 34 participants braved the

1000km away. The month wrapped up with giving an EBVs 101

sweltering heat and turbulent wind to enjoy a combination of BREEDPLAN theory, an open discussion about selection tradeoffs and assessing structural soundness using bulls in the yard. Fun fact - putting a sprinkler on a tin roof definitely helps keep the heat at bay. If you’re interested in having either Tim or Paul speak at an upcoming event in your region, please feel free to get in touch with us. Tim can be contacted on 0408 707 155 or via email, while Paul can be contacted on 0427 018 982 or via email

Paul presenting at the Coral Bay MLA BeefUp Forum 11

TBTS Regional Forum at Rockhampton


n August Paul Williams and Tim Emery conducted a TBTS Regional Forum in Rockhampton, with 16 seedstock producers attending the event. Within the room there

was varied knowledge in relation to BREEDPLAN, with one producer having over 25 years’ experience, while for another it was their first in-depth discussion about BREEDPLAN. While the majority of attendees were located within two hours of Rockhampton, one had travelled over 7 hours to attend. The Regional Forum covered a range of topics, from performance recording and contemporary groups through to genomics. Producers were also provided with Completeness of Performance and Genetic Progress reports for their own herd, allowing them to stocktake how much performance data they have been recording in recent years and benchmark how much genetic progress they have made. Extensive discussion amongst attendees and deliverers created a great learning environment

SBTS & TBTS will be running 14 Regional Forums around

and an overall informative and enjoyable event.

Australia in 2019; see pages 5-7 for further information.

BREEDPLAN Workshops for Breed Society Staff


n 2018, SBTS & TBTS ran several BREEDPLAN workshops for staff from stakeholder breed societies. The first of these was held in Armidale, and was attended by nearly

30 individuals from ten SBTS and TBTS stakeholder breed societies. A second workshop was held in Brisbane, and was attended by nine staff from several TBTS stakeholder breed societies. Both days were interactive training events, and focussed on a number of topics. In the morning, sessions included the importance of genetics, interpreting EBVs & Selection Indexes and an outline of the BREEDPLAN process from data submission through to analysis. The afternoon sessions were focussed on DNA technology and its applications for seedstock beef producers. In addition to an overview of DNA technology,

Boyd presents to Breed Society staff at the Armidale workshop

there was much discussion on parentage verification, genetic

allows SBTS & TBTS to identify topics that require further

condition testing and genomics.

technical support and plan extension activities accordingly.

In addition to providing breed society staff with updates on

With this workshop format benefiting both breed society staff

BREEDPLAN, these workshops also allow stakeholder breed societies the opportunity to provide feedback on the questions

and SBTS & TBTS, it is expected that these workshops will

they receive from members regarding BREEDPLAN. This

continue to be available to breed society staff in the future. 12

DeSireBull - A New Tool to Assist Beef Producers Buy the “Right” Bulls


he NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is leading the development of a new genetics decision support tool to assist livestock producers select the

to allow Index customisation.

right bull for their enterprise. The project is a co-investment

feedback for future breeding

In addition, it will facilitate the streamlining of on-farm use of

between NSW DPI & the MLA Donor Company as part of

decisions. NSW DPI Genetics

the National Livestock Genetics Consortium (NLGC).




Suarez, is managing the project

The DeSireBull™ platform aims to simplify the bull

and stated that “the end result

selection process, increase the number of bull buyers who

will be a tool available on

utilize genetic performance information, and ultimately,

mobile devices that will allow producers to compare and

improve herd quality. Using current genetic performance


measurement information like EBVs and indexes can

online catalogued bulls available for sale,

based on their genetic merit and how they fit the specific

be challenging and time-consuming, particularly for

needs of individual producers. The tool will add value to

commercial producers who infrequently make bull buying decisions. This often means that such buyers and producers

BREEDPLAN by providing an interface that allows bull

are discouraged from basing their selection decisions on

buyers to base their selection decisions on existing Industry

objective information, and as a result do not make as much

derived BreedObject selection indexes and Estimated

genetic progress as would be possible if they did.

Breeding Values (EBVs) while making small modifications to the selection criteria to fit specific enterprise requirements.”

DeSireBull will provide a platform for bull vendors to upload all relevant genetic information for their bulls, for the first

To ensure that the tool is simple to use and meets the

time allowing bull buyers to source the most appropriate

producer’s needs, commercial producers have been

bulls for their needs while providing feedback to the seller

consulted at each stage to trial and continue to provide

in the process. The service will combine existing genetic

valuable feedback on the user experience. Producers are

tools which include BreedObject bio-economic models

encouraged to visit the development website at https:// to trial the tool and comment on the developments. Ultimately, DeSireBull is designed to simplify the process of using genetic information to purchase bulls and will support industry’s extension and adoption efforts to increase the rate of genetic gain in beef cattle. Project partners include: Meat and Livestock Australia Donor Company, The Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), The Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI), Beef and Lamb Genetics New Zealand and Local Land Services (LLS).


Program Additions: Breeders' Days & Student Workshop S A V E



AAABG 2019 Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding & Genetics



Save the Date AAABG 2019 Conference


he Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics (AAABG) is a professional organisation for those interested in the application of

On the afternoon of Wednesday 30th October, there will be

genetics to animal production. An international conference is

region, including the UNE Smart Farm and CSIRO Armidale

field trips. Conference delegates will have the opportunity to tour research facilities and working farms in the New England

held at approximately two year intervals, allowing breeders,

Chiswick. Additional tour details will become available as

livestock scientists, consultants, extension workers and industry

itineraries are finalised. The official conference dinner will be

service providers to meet and discuss current research and the

held in Armidale after all tours are completed.

application of livestock genetics in animal breeding. The next

The final two days of the conference, Thursday 31st October

AAABG conference will be held in Armidale, New South Wales

and part of Friday 1st November, have been allocated to a two-

from Sunday 27th October to Friday 1st November, 2019.

day breeder program. This part of the conference will include

This year’s conference marks 40 years since the first AAABG

outcomes of industry research projects, including those funded

conference was held in 1979, also at UNE in Armidale. To

by MLA. Expected topics to be covered at the breeder days of

celebrate this Ruby Anniversary, the organising committee

interest to beef producers include genetics adoption, breeding

is providing an extended program for conference delegates,

objectives, genetic gain, breeding for maternal efficiency and

including the addition of a program for breeders extended

using genetics to improve animal welfare.

over two days, which is expected to be of particular interest for

Producers will have options to register for the full conference

livestock producers.

(scientific program, field trip, breeder program and conference

The 2019 conference will begin on Sunday 27th October with

dinner), or to register for the second half of the conference

an official welcome in the evening, before 2.5 days of scientific

(field trip, breeder program and conference dinner).

conference on Monday 28th to Wednesday 30th October. Keynote speakers for each of these days include Prof. John Hickey

There are also registration options to attend individual days.

from the Roslin Institute in the UK, Asst. Prof. Daniela Lourenco

Further information, including registration fees, will become

from the University of Georgia in the USA and Dr. Johan A.M.

available on the 2019 AAABG conference website: https://

van Arendonk from Hendrix Genetics, based in the Netherlands.

Congratulations Tim and Kelly


n between travelling all around Australia for TBTS events last year, Tim was also busy planning a wedding - his own - with partner Kelly. Tim and Kelly were married in late October at Jimbour House. SBTS & TBTS congratulate Tim and Kelly on their wedding, and wish them both all the best for their future together.


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:




Boyd Gudex

Limousin Simmental T (02) 6773 1711 M 0437 468 159

Catriona Millen

Blonde d’Aquitaine Charolais Devon Gelbvieh Hereford Murray Grey

Red Angus Red Poll Salers Shorthorn Speckle Park

Paul Williams

Belmont Red Brahman Brangus Droughtmaster

Santa Gertrudis Senepol Simbrah

Tim Emery

Belmont Red Brahman Brangus Droughtmaster

Santa Gertrudis Senepol Simbrah

Carel Teseling

Wagyu T (02) 6773 3357 M 0409 102 644 T (07) 4927 6066 M 0427 018 982 M 0408 707 155 T (02) 8880 7703 M 0439 368 283

IF YOU WOULD LIKE ANY FURTHER INFORMATION ON SBTS AND TBTS PLEASE CONTACT: Tropical Beef Technology Services Telephone: (07) 4927 6066 Email: Web:

Southern Beef Technology Services Telephone: (02) 6773 3555 Email: Web: 16

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