Rumps and humps, eggs and pregs at next ICMJ webinar

Beef Central, 15/10/2020

How to juggle the many and varied demands on cattle breeding programs – from meat eating quality to herd fertility – will be tackled at the next episode of the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Association’s webinar series, to be held next Wednesday.

David Johnston

Addressing the topic of ‘Rumps ‘n Humps, Eggs ‘n Pregs – How we can breed for them all?’, will be Dr David Johnston from the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit at the University of New England and Bec Burnham, Nuffield Scholar and Central Queensland Brahman breeder.

Dr Johnston said improving the value of beef carcases would increase profitability to the Australian beef industry and genetic selection was a key tool for achieving that.

“Improvements can be made by changes in on-farm management practices, during processing and post-slaughter, but it is often not recognised that many attributes of beef carcase are also influenced by genetics,” he said.

“However, to do this effectively requires an understanding of the genetics of these carcase/meat quality traits and how importantly, how they should be considered in an overall selection program that also includes other traits that drive overall commercial profit, especially female reproduction in northern Australia.”

Ms Burnham will provide a producer’s perspective, with insights gained from her 2019 Nuffield Scholarship through which she investigated technologies from around the globe that can be incorporated into beef production systems to increase the rate of genetic gain and enhance profit drivers such as fertility, market compliance and production efficiencies.

“If we can measure it, we can manage it, and I am excited by the benefits open to producers through technologies like genomics, that can provide information on hard to measure traits that will enable more targeted seedstock selection,” she said.

As a result of Covid-19 restrictions forcing the cancellation of its conferences and workshops, ICMJ shifted to digital delivery to ensure students and young industry professionals can continue to access meat science training and networking opportunities.

The ICMJ Association is a not-for-profit organisation run by a volunteer committee, funded by Meat & Livestock Australia, the Australian Meat Processor Corporation and industry sponsors, with a mission to ‘Inspire and develop future professionals in the global red meat industry’.

Now in its 30th year of existence, the Australian ICMJ has a long and successful reputation of attracting graduates to careers in the red meat industry. Previous webinars have addressed new technologies for measuring eating quality in beef and lamb, genomic tools to breed for improved eating quality, carbon neutral meat production, and carcase yield measurement technologies and their integration in processing plants.

Video recordings of these earlier webinars are available here.


  • Genetic technologies for balancing trait selection for maximum productivity and consumer satisfaction, with Dave Johnston, of UNE.
  • The producer perspective – new technologies from around the world for commercial cattle breeders, with Bec Burnham, of Boogal Cattle Co.

Questiontime will follow.


When: Wednesday October 21 from Noon (AEDST).

How to connect: Download Zoom and register your attendance here

More information: Click here.







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