BUYERS looking to purchase bulls this autumn can use BreedPlan Estimated Breeding Values with confidence, following the completion of a recent research project.
Angus Australia breed development and extension manager Andrew Byrne said the project had emphasised the value of performance recording, genetic evaluation and selection in the seedstock industry.
Jointly funded by Angus Australia and the MLA Donor Company, the project had clearly demonstrated that EBVs are reliable indicators of the genetic merit of each animal.
“Using informative tools such as EBVs and selection indexes, producers are able to readily select animals with superior genetics, subsequently increasing the rate of genetic gain in their herd and achieving long term sustainable genetic improvement,” Mr Byrne said.
The project used data sourced from the first three cohorts of the Angus Sire Benchmarking Project (ASBP), encompassing about 40 sires joined to 2000 cows per cohort, with 25 progeny per sire.
Several key concepts were explored, including the amount of genetic variation between Angus bulls, and whether the EBVs of young Angus bulls are accurately predicting the performance of their progeny.
The project demonstrated there was great opportunity to make genetic improvement through careful bull selection, with considerable differences being observed in the progeny from different bulls.
For example, the progeny from the highest five performing sires for yearling weight had progeny that were on average 35kg heavier than the progeny from the five lowest performing sires. All other things being equal, at a sale price of 300c/kg, this equates to a difference of $105 per animal.
Similarly, the project demonstrated that the EBVs of sires when entered in the ASBP reliably predicted the subsequent performance of their progeny.
“We found that most sires will perform as predicted by their EBV, and while some individual sires may perform better or worse than predicted, the EBVs will on average, provide a reliable indicator of the genetics that sires are delivering to a breeding herd,” Mr Byrne said.