Genetics: New feed testing station will drive Wagyu industry’s progeny trial

Beef Central, 18/05/2016

THE quest to confirm superior Wagyu genetics has accelerated with the launch of Wagyu Sire Progeny Test Program developed through a partnership between the Australian Wagyu Association (AWA) and Kerwee Lotfeeders on Queensland’s Darling Downs.

Launched during the recent National Wagyu Conference in the Hunter Valley, the test will seek to prove the next generation of Wagyu sires necessary for ongoing breed improvement and profitability, particularly for the growing number of Australian cattle producers turning to Wagyu genetics.

AWA technical services manager Carel Teseling during the launch of the progeny test trial at the National Wagyu Conference

AWA technical services manager Carel Teseling during the launch of the progeny test trial

In a first for any progeny test in Australia, Net Feed Intake data will be generated in a commercial feedlot environment.

Kerwee Lotfeeders has fitted GrowSafe feed bins enabling NFI testing of 180 progeny at a time with the ability to handle three feed test intakes a year. The NFI data generated will contribute to the development of NFI Breedplan EBVs for Wagyu, a critical development for the longfed industry.

This is the first private NFI testing station to be commissioned in Australia that is open to the broader industry. AA Co has a similar facility at its Aronui feedlot near Dalby, but this is used exclusively for the company’s own genetic selection work.

Under the Kerwee progeny test program, at least five progeny from each of two Wagyu sires per property will be custom-fed at Kerwee for 450 days with NFI and all feeding data reports available to the owners.  Kerwee will also be responsible for all carcase analysis which will include Japanese digital camera imaging measuring eye muscle area, marbling percentage and marbling fineness. Full AusMeat and MSA data will also be made available to the owners.

Top ranking Wagyu genetics with high accuracy EBVs and in the top percentile bands for Fullblood Terminal Index are in strong demand. The Wagyu sire progeny test program at Kerwee is designed to discover the most superior genetics to satisfy the growing demand nationally and internationally for Wagyu, according to Australian Wagyu Association CEO Graham Truscott.

With Wagyu typically being longfed for periods 400-500 days, feed efficiency is more critical than any other breed according to AWA technical services manager Carel Teseling.

“AWA now has one of the best genetic evaluation systems in the world for Wagyu, with more than 80,000 animals carrying reportable EBVs. Our next task is to prove out more sires with the highest potential, particularly younger sires.” Mr Teseling said.

“With Wagyu being grainfed for such long periods, feed efficiency is critical for cost-effective production.  Kerwee’s investment in of GrowSafe feeders to enable Net Feed Intake measurement within a commercial feedlot operation is extremely innovative. The Wagyu sire progeny test program will provide not only commercially relevant feedlot growth and carcase data, but also NFI information,” he said.

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Kerwee Lotfeeders’ Steve Martin

Kerwee Lot Feeders general manager Steve Martin said his company had always strived to be an innovative leader in the Australian feedlot industry, working to provide the best service for its feeding and branded beef customers.

Kerwee specialised in high-quality long-feeding programs, and efficient cost of gain was vital to its production system, Mr Martin said.

“The ability to measure Net Feed Intake using the new GrowSafe feed bin installation will add real value to our feeding programs.  We’re proud to be able to partner with AWA to conduct the Wagyu sires’ progeny test program incorporating every current technology available to objectively measure the value of a sire, both in the feedlot and on the hooks in a real commercial supply chain,” he said.

While the main purpose of progeny test program is to identify superior Wagyu genetics and validate Estimated Breeding Values, AWA is developing guidelines for a competition that will showcase the top-performing sire groups for commercially relevant traits and reward those breeders with the top performing sires.


  • Further information on the progeny test and NFI project is available here.
  • To discuss the progeny test program contact Carel Teseling, Australian Wagyu Association on 0439 368 283 or email


Source: AWA


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