Beef 2024 Report

BreedPlan Select launched for commercial cattle herds

James Nason, 14/05/2024

IN what is being described as the biggest addition to BreedPlan in over 50 years, a new DNA-Only genetic evaluation product is being launched for commercial cattle herds.

BreedPlan Select launch with Hamish Chandler (Herefords Australia), Hugh Nivison (ABRI) and Bobby Creasman (NEOGEN).

Making the announcement at Beef 2024, ABRI managing director Dr Hugh Nivison said the new BreedPlan Select system will give commercial breeders accurate information on the genetic merit of their commercial animals in a similar way to the information seedstock producers receive in the full BreedPlan system.

“We understand there are all sorts of limitations with BreedPlan, you need dates of birth, you need accurate ancestry, you need all sorts of measurements, and that is very difficult in a commercial cattle situation.

“That doesn’t mean those people still don’t want to make sure they’re selecting the best heifers, the best animals for their conditions, and until now they haven’t really had a good option about how they do that.

“So we’re really excited, with Herefords at the start as a launch customer and other breeds going forward, to enable them to use the technology powered by BreedPlan.

“With our really powerful BreedPlan engine behind them, to give them some idea about how their animals are going to perform in the real world, and which ones they should be keeping and breeding from.”

Dr Nivison told Beef Central at the launch that BreedPlan Select will give commercial producers “a really strong indication about where they are, and how they need to get where they want to get to, accurately rather than guess”.

BreedPlan Select has been launched in partnership with Neogen and Herefords Australia and is expected to be rolled out to other breeds in future.

It is expected to commercially available for commercial Hereford breeders before the end of this year.

Producers will be able to purchase DNA tests from Neogen or the respective Breed Society, at a price anticipated to be vicinity of around $40 to $50 per head.

The data will be provided to ABRI for analysis, which leverages BreedPlan’s prediction equations to provide farmers with Direct Genomic Values (DGVs), ranking each animal compared to the BreedPlan database across a whole range of genetically important traits.

“So it is a much better than just looking at a bunch of heifers in the paddock,” Dr Nivison explained.

“Because normally the ones you pick will be the ones that were born earlier and so they’re bigger and fatter, where genetically that little one down the back that is three months younger might actually be a better animal.”

BreedPlan traditionally requires large amount of information such as date of birth, pedigree and performance and hence is restricted primarily to seedstock owners, or bull breeders effectively.

BreedPlan Select on the other hand is aimed at the “bull breeders’ customers”, he said.

“They can say ‘I have this group of heifers, which ones should I be keeping and how do I then leverage what I am doing, if I am in the north and I want fertility or in the south and I want carcase for example, which bulls should I looking at.”

Herefords Australia’s Hamish Chandler said BreedPlan Select was an important step forward.

“We’ve had access to BreedPlan EBVs for a very long time to help us improve our accuracy of selection for our bull teams.

“For the Hereford breeders this product will for the first time allow commercial Hereford heifers to be selected on the basis of their genetic merit.

“I think it is a really important step forward to how we help Hereford breeders keep improving their rate of genetic progress and their improvement in productivity, eating quality and sustainability traits.”

ABRI chief product officer Mark Christian said traditionally commercial breeders relied on Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) of their purchased bulls for insights into breeding potential, accounting for only 50 percent of the genetic picture as they had limited information on the females to which those bulls were joined.

However, with the introduction of Direct Genomic Values (DGVs), a comprehensive understanding of both bulls and dams becomes attainable.

“By integrating EBVs and DGVs, commercial farmers gain unparalleled insight, mitigating guesswork and maximising progress towards their individual breeding objective.

“The benefits extend across various facets of farm management, empowering farmers with data-driven decision-making capabilities for animal selection, culling, and on-farm breeding strategies, and improved profitability.”

Crossbred DGVs options are coming soon, Mr Christian said.

“This genomic technology integrates seamlessly with BreedPlan offering commercial beef cattle farmers access to continuously updated results and analysis.

“The resulting DGVs empower commercial farmers to make informed decisions that are validated by science and drive productivity gains.”

To view an a PDF with more informaiton about BreedPlan Select click here



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