Breeding Better Breeders – Mature Cow Measurements Wanted

October 30, 2019 9:32 am

Angus Australia recently announced a partnership with the School of Environmental and Rural Science at the University of New England (UNE) to undertake research into the genetics of traits related to the productivity and profitability of the female breeding herd.

This research project, titled “Breeding Better Breeders”, will  focus  on  better  describing  the  genetics  of  Angus  animals   for   traits   associated   with   the   maintenance   requirements   of   the   female   breeding   herd,   female   longevity, structural soundness and fertility.

To  assist  with  this  research,  members  are  encouraged  to collect and submit a range of additional performance measurements for their mature females, including:

  • Body condition score
  • Hip height
  • Structural soundness (feet, leg and udder scores)
  • Female fertility

The performance measurements  collected  will  assist  researchers  to  better  understand  the  genetics  of  these  traits, and in time, to generate research breeding values for a range of new traits related to the productivity and profitability of the female breeding herd.

Body condition score  and  hip  height  measurements  should  be  collected  in  association  with  the  collection  of  mature  weights  when  the  200  day  weights  for  the  progeny of the females are collected. Feet and leg scores can be collected at any time, while udder scores should be  collected  at  the  time  of  calving.  Unlike  structural  scores  for  young  animals,  structural  score  information  for  mature  cows  do  not  need  to  be  collected  by  an  accredited scorer

.Mature  weight,  body  condition  scores  and  hip  height  measurements  can  also  be  repeated  at  the  start  of  joining and pre calving for any members who are willing to collect multiple measurements.

In  addition  to  the  collection  of  additional  performance  measurements,   members   are   also   encouraged   to   consider  collecting  DNA  samples  and  genotyping  any  females who have not been previously genotyped with the  Angus  GS  or  HD50K  for  Angus  products,  or  their  predecessors.   The   availability   of   both   performance   measurements and genomic information for females will assist  with  the  development  of  a  reference  population  for  these  traits,  and  with  the  utilisation  of  genomic  information   in   any   research   breeding   values   thatare calculated.

Mature females can be genotyped with either the Angus uLD or Angus GS products available via Neogen, or the HD50K for Angus product available via Zoetis. Angus uLD is  an  ultra-low  density,  low  cost  genomic  product  that  has been developed specifically for genomically testing mature Australian Angus seedstock females.

To   further   discuss   the   collection   of   performance   measurements   for   mature   females   or   genotyping   options,  please  contact  either  Angus  Australia’s  Breed  Development   Officer,   Matt   Reynolds,   on   (02)   6773   4626,,    or    Angus   Australia’s   Breed   Development   &   Extension   Manager,  Andrew  Byrne,  on  (02)  6773  4618,