Genomics key to herd profitability + VIDEO

Beef Central, 05/07/2017

CATTLE producers are seeing stronger returns on their investment by tapping into 10 years of research into genomics.

The University of Adelaide’s Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Wayne Pitchford, from the School of Animal and Veterinary Science, gave a presentation at this week’s Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics conference in Townsville on the use of genomic selection in a tropically-adapted composite beef program.

His presentation was the culmination of 10 years of research and practice by Greg Popplewell, the founder of Popplewell Composites, who has worked with world leaders in the genetics field to build his program.

Prof Pitchford and his team from the University of Adelaide have been working with Popplewell Composite in analysing data recorded over the past ten years (click on video below).

“Greg started collecting DNA like some people collect stamps,” Professor Pitchford told the AAABG conference.

“He knew genomics was coming, and his foresight and commitment is now seeing his business as a leader in this field.”

Prof Pitchford’s paper at the AAABG conference explored how genetics has been used to combine Taurus, Sanga and Indicus breeds to achieve tropical adaption with an increase in fertility, reproduction, growth and carcase traits.

“It’s about finding that magic combination that gives producers a higher return on their investment,” Greg Popplewell said.

“For 10 years now we have been collected hair samples from every animal in our program. This data is now proving invaluable in giving our clients a competitive edge,” he said.

By adopting the Popplewell composite breeding program, heifers were more likely to breed as yearlings and get back in calf sooner, increasing profits, giving an immediate return on investment and allowing for longer term improved profits, he said.

“We aim to increase the profitability of our bull customers’ herds by delivering both sustained hybrid vigour and continuous genetic improvement from selection to improve female fertility, production traits and meat quality and to only breed polled cattle without horns,” he said.


  • Popplewell Composites is a tropical beef seed-stock company, operated for over 10 years, by husband and wife team Greg and Katrina Popplewell.



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