New software tools helps optimise Breedplan-driven breeding decisions

Beef Central, 23/01/2013


A new Breedplan decision-making tool released this week provides seedstock producers with a guide for objectively optimising mating allocations within their breeding programs.

Managing director of the Agricultural Business Research Institute in Armidale, Murray Scholz, said the new MateSel software would take seedstock producers’ breeding programs to the next level by including objectivity and proven science in mating allocation decisions.

“In particular, use of MateSel enables beef producers to maximise the rate of genetic gain being achieved within their breeding program, without compromising inbreeding through better mating allocation,” he said.

“MateSel also offers the potential to save producers significant time previously spent compiling mating lists while also enabling more informed decisions to be made about which bulls to use within a breeding program.”

When utilising MateSel, seedstock breeders provide staff at Breedplan with details regarding their breeding objective and breeding program, plus details of the bulls and females that are available for inclusion in the upcoming matings.

The MateSel software then returns a detailed suggested mating list for their consideration, plus a report outlining a range of outcomes from the suggested matings such as the genetic gains that will be achieved and the level of inbreeding that would be present in the progeny.

Mr Scholz said field testing of MateSel over recent months has demonstrated that seedstock producers observed a considerable gain in the rate of genetic improvement achieved within their breeding program from the use of the software.

“This should all result in more profitable genetics becoming available to the Australian beef industry over coming years,” he said.

Example of a MateSel report provided to a Breedplan user

Initially, MateSel has been offered to Breedplan members of Australian Breed Societies that have selection indexes published and operate on ABRI’s ILR2 pedigree and performance database system.

This includes the Angus, Brahman, Brangus, Charolais, Limousin, Murray Grey, Red Angus, Santa Gertrudis and Wagyu breeds, and and Performance Herds Australia, whose eight members use ilr2 to evaluate their Shorthorn and Durham composite seed stock herds.

As breed societies with selection indexes migrate to ILR2, their Breedplan members will be offered access to MateSel. A commercialisation strategy for overseas clients of Breedplan will be developed over the next six months.

Mr Scholz said further development was underway so that members of Breedplan would be able to access MateSel through a web-interface, via a secure login. This will allow breeders to undertake the MateSel analysis on their own herd, in their own time without the need for a consultant or operator.

The software engine underpinning MateSel was developed by Professor Brian Kinghorn at the University of New England in Armidale. MateSel has already been implemented in the American pork industry, to great effect.

  • A video demonstration and further information about MateSel can be seen in the technical area of the Breedplan website, accessible here.




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