Genetics

Weekly genetics review: Frontier Genetics focus on objective measurement for the northern beef industry

Genetics editor Alastair Rayner, 01/08/2023

THE northern beef industry has benefited significantly in recent years through major research initiatives, starting with the Beef CRCs I, II and III, the QDPI Cash Cow project and the ongoing Northern Repronomics project, as key examples.

The challenge of these and any research project is to have the outcomes, observed and adopted by the industry in order to see the full benefit impacting and improving the industry.

At a seedstock level, one of the major challenges is to see a greater adoption of performance recording and publication of EBVs to allow producers selection decisions to become more refined and targeted for their production system (see tonight’s separate report on outcomes from MLA’s 2023 Genetics Insights survey).

For many years the number of Bos Indicus bulls, particularly in the Brahman breed, sold without EBVs or performance data has been in sharp contrast with popular temperate breeds that predominate in southern Australia.

However as research projects focused on northern production have continued, there has been a noticeable uptake among seedstock producers who have seen the opportunity to use performance recording to not only better select and produce bulls for their own programs, but to also then offer bulls of proven genetic merit to the wider industry.

While the number of breeders adopting and using EBVs, particularly in the Brahman breed is growing, for a number of seedstock producers, finding suitable sires to achieve improved rates of genetic gain remains a challenge.

In order to address this challenge, a collaboration of Queensland based Brahman breeders have come together to create Frontier Genetics. Founding member and vice-president of Frontier Genetics, Adam Gunthorpe of Tarramba Brahmans, describes the new entity as “emerging from a joint vision of like-minded Brahman breeders, who firmly believe in the value of measured genetics that generate profit for clients.”

A key focus of Frontier Genetics is to “showcase the combined efforts of the Frontier Genetics members and demonstrate the positive impact that great Brahman genetics can have on Australia,” Mr Gunthorpe said.

Challenges in genetic gain

Rebecca Burnham

Frontier Genetics president Rebecca Burnham highlighted some of the challenges in achieving genetic gain within the Brahman breed.

In 2019 Rebecca undertook a Nuffield Scholarship, where she researched opportunities to improve genetic gain in northern Australia. Her passion for the Brahman breed and focus on building on existing research are major contributors to her involvement in the establishment of this new body.

The Frontier Genetics group includes a number of well-known and respected breeders from across Queensland. The founding members are:

  • Adam & Tracy Gunthorpe, Tarramba Brahmans
  • Ashley Kirk, Rockley Brahmans
  • Jennifer McCamley, representing Tartrus, Blue Gum and Lookout
  • Lance Burnham, Boogal Cattle Co
  • Michael & Michelle Lyons, Wambiana
  • Rebecca Burnham & Dan Radel, REB Grazing
  • Richard & Victoria Moffatt, RV Pastoral
  • Rodger, Grant & Brooke Jefferis, Elrose
  • Roger, Jenny & Kate Landsberg, Trafalgar Pastoral
  • Roland Everingham, Oak Park

Across these operations, the group can commit around 5000 recorded females, which will be used to identify and select superior animals.

The aim of the group is to cooperate through sharing genetics and knowledge to achieve greater rates of genetic gain within their herds, as well as offering performance-recorded animals to the industry through an annual online sale.

The founding members believe they are the first group of Brahman breeders to come together to work intensively to share genetics and knowledge with the goal of progressing overall profitability in a transparent, predictable, and environmentally responsible manner.

Frontier Genetics will be officially launched in Rockhampton in September with the first online sale to be held in late October.

 

Alastair Rayner is the Principal of RaynerAg, an agricultural advisory service based in NSW.  RaynerAg is affiliated with BJA Stock & Station Agents.  He regularly lists and sell cattle for clients as well attending bull sales to support client purchases.  Alastair provides pre-sale selections and classifications for seedstock producers in NSW, Qld, and Victoria.  He can be contacted here or through his website www.raynerag.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Martin Gomez, 02/08/2023

    CBV genetics have been at it for quite some time. Their Breedplan figures are proof.

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