New selection indexes will be introduced for Angus seedstock cattle in the December 2021 TransTasman Angus Cattle Evaluation.
The new selection indexes replace the current Angus Breeding, Domestic, Heavy Grain and Heavy Grass selection indexes, which have been published since 2014.
Angus Australia’s Breed Development & Extension Manager, Mr Andrew Byrne explained that ten selection indexes will now be published for animals within the TransTasman Angus Cattle Evaluation (TACE).
The $A and $A-L selection indexes will be published in the standard Estimated Breeding Value (EBV) display for Angus animals, whereas the other selection indexes will be made available from the Angus Australia website for those breeders who wish to use them in their selection decisions.
“The introduction of a greater range of selection indexes aims to better cater for the diversity that exists within Angus breeding systems, target markets, production systems and breeding objectives”, said Mr Byrne.
While different selection indexes have traditionally been available for use by breeders targeting different market end-points, different selection indexes are now also available for breeding programs operating in different production systems.
“Low feed cost versions of each selection index have been introduced to cater for Angus breeders who are running a production systems where pasture is not fully utilised for the majority of the year, or where the cost of supplying additional feed, via either supplementary feeding and/or increased pasture production, is low”, explained Mr Byrne.
In these production systems, if there is an increase in the maintenance requirements of the breeding herd due to an increase in mature weight, minimal additional costs are incurred.
“The low feed cost selection indexes do not consequently aim to limit an increase in mature cow weight, while improvement in other production traits is achieved, which is an objective in the other versions of these selection indexes”, said Mr Byrne.
The new selection indexes also see the introduction of an Angus Terminal Sire selection index for use in situations where Angus bulls are being used as a terminal sire over mature breeding females, along with the introduction of a selection index specific to New Zealand production systems.
The implementation of the new selection indexes in the TransTasman Angus Cattle Evaluation comes after the completion of a comprehensive industry consultation process that was facilitated by Angus Australia during 2021.
“The consultation process commenced in April with the facilitation of an online member survey, accompanied by six member focus groups, to gather feedback on the selection indexes that are published in the TransTasman Angus Cattle Evaluation” said Mr Byrne.
Based on the feedback obtained, a series of research selection indexes were developed by staff at Angus Australia, in collaboration with scientists at the Animal Genetics & Breeding Unit and Agricultural Business Research Institute in Armidale.
The research selection indexes were released in August for industry review and feedback.
Feedback on the research selection indexes was collated via another online member survey in October, accompanied by four member focus groups, with input also obtained from Angus Australia’s Genetic Evaluation Consultative Committee.
“The feedback obtained during the consultation process has been integral in ensuring that the new selection indexes align with the breeding priorities of Angus breeders, and are relevant to current Angus breeding programs”, Mr Byrne said.
Further information on the new selection indexes for Angus cattle are available from the Angus Australia website, or by contacting staff at Angus Australia.