The four selection indexes that are calculated within the Angus BreedPlan genetic evaluation are set for review.
Selection indexes currently calculated for Australian Angus cattle include:
- The Angus Breeding Index
- Domestic Index
- Heavy Grain Index and
- Heavy Grass Index.
The Angus Breeding Index is a general purpose selection index that is suitable for use in the majority of commercial beef operations, whereas the Domestic, Heavy Grain and Heavy Grass selection indexes are specific to beef operations targeting a defined production system and market endpoint.
Angus Australia’s breed development & extension manager Andrew Byrne said the purpose of the review was to evaluate whether the current selection indexes calculated for Angus animals were still appropriate for current beef markets.
“It is normal industry practice to periodically review the selection indexes that are calculated in order to maintain the relevance of the selection indexes that are being calculated,” he said.
“The selection indexes calculated for Angus animals were last reviewed in 2014 and so this review is part of the routine maintenance of the Angus BreedPlan genetic evaluation.”
The review of the selection indexes will include consideration of the production and market scenarios for which selection indexes are published, the software that is utilised, and the manner in which selection indexes are presented.
“Extensive industry consultation will be undertaken with producers running Angus seedstock and commercial enterprises, feedlots, processors, semen companies, researchers and private consultants as part of the review,” Mr Byrne said.
As an initial step, Angus Australia has engaged CSIRO Agriculture and Food to conduct market research to determine current industry preferences for different traits within Angus breeding programs.
The outcomes of this research, along with the other feedback received during the consultation process, will be reviewed by Angus Australia and will help shape the selection indexes that are calculated for Australian Angus animals,” Mr Byrne said.
As part of the research, an online survey has been launched to allow Angus producers to have input into what key selection traits will shape the future of their breed. The aim is to determine current industry preferences for different traits within Angus breeding programs. The survey will remain open until 31 March.
For each question Angus breeders will be asked to choose between two options or rate them as equal, depending on which outcome they prefer for the average animal in their herd.
Participation is completely voluntary and stakeholders are free to withdraw by stopping at any time. Participants can also skip any question they do not want to answer.
Click this link to access the survey.
It is anticipated that any revisions to the Angus selection indexes will implemented in December 2019 in association with the annual implementation of enhancements to the Angus BreedPlan genetic evaluation.
Source: Angus Australia