ROI study finds investment in genomic selection tools for commercial heifers adds up

Beef Central, 03/06/2021

Angus HeiferSelect is an effective tool in making objective genetic decisions on impossible-to-measure commercially important traits on commercial cattle, a recent webinar was told.

In a return on investment case study, the genetic selection tool delivered significant financial return over the lifespan of each heifer tested. A potential return of more than $63,000 over ten years was forecast from the case study, applied on 756 commercial Angus heifers born in 2019.

The return on investment achieved when investing in new genomic selection tools for commercial heifers was discussed in a presentation delivered at an Angus Connect Research and Development Update held last week.

The presentation, delivered by Zoetis Animal Genetics’ Lachlan Ayoub, discussed the Angus HeiferSelect selection tool that is offered by Angus Australia, in association with partners Zoetis and Neogen Australasia.

Angus HeiferSelect is a genomic tool available for commercial Angus females and provides genetic predictions for nine important maternal, growth and carcase traits as well as an index, in the form of the Total breeding index, and a star rating.

As part of last week’s R&D Update, Mr Ayoub presented on the outcomes of a recent case study exploring the return on investment of Angus HeiferSelect.

The Heifer Select test retails at about $40 including GST per heifer.

Mr Ayoub said a question that has often been asked by customers and interested commercial producers interested is, what is the potential return on investment?

The case study herd examined had been utilising Angus HeiferSelect over five year-drops of calves, since 2015, as part of a program producing both purebred Angus and Terminal Wagyu F1s.

The case study focused on the benefits obtained in the herd from identifying the bottom performing animals and culling them from the breeding herd. Animals were assessed with the Total Breeding Value (TBV) which is an index incorporating the nine traits calculated as part of Angus HeiferSelect, with appropriate weightings assigned to reflect their relative importance.

For the purpose of the study, a single TBV point was assigned a dollar value of $1.44 to model the return on investment. The study assumed 60pc of heifers would be retained, with the bottom 40pc (identified based on Angus HeiferSelect), sold.

The herd was also assumed to have an average 88pc year-on-year weaning rate with a 10-year maximum cow life.

In the case study, a total of 756 heifers were tested as part of the ‘2019 born’ heifers representing an initial ex GST investment of $29,312. The case study forecasted a potential total return of $63,029 over the 10 years, from the better genetics of the ‘2019’ selected group delivering a higher return through superior genetics.

Mr Ayoub said the results of the case study demonstrate that Angus HeiferSelect was an effective tool available to commercial producers to make objective genetic decisions on hard-to-measure commercially important traits, delivering significant financial return over the lifespan of each heifer tested.

Click the link below to watch the webinar


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