Breeding Better Breeders

April 3, 2019 3:34 pm

Angus Australia has partnered 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.

The research project, titled “Breeding Better Breeders” will be led by well-respected UNE geneticists, Dr Sam Clark and Dr Tom Granleese.

Angus Australia’s Breed Development & Extension Manager, Mr Andrew Byrne, explained that the research project was part of Angus Australia’s commitment to providing Angus breeders with tools that enable them to maximise the rate of genetic improvement within their breeding program.

“EBVs are published for Angus animals for traits like calving ease, milk production, female fertility, mature weight and docility, but many of the traits that affect the profitability of the female breeding herd are not well described”, said Mr Byrne.

Initial research 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.

The establishment of the “Breeding Better Breeders” research project is a direct response by Angus Australia to feedback received from the leading users of Angus Australia’s genetic evaluation services.

“Angus Australia initiated a formal consultation process several years ago with the establishment of various industry consultative committees”, said Mr Byrne.

Feedback from the consultative committees has identified that the development of selection tools that better describe traits associated with the female breeding herd was the number one priority.

“The Angus breed is well renowned for its maternal attributes, and this project aims to fast track the access of Angus breeders to tools that enable them to further improve the genetics of Angus animals for these traits, balanced with selection for other traits of importance within their breeding objective”, said Mr Byrne.

Further information regarding the outcomes of the research project will be circulated to members of Angus Australia as the project progresses.


Meet the Research Team

Tom Granleese

Tom Granleese grew up on a mixed farming enterprise farm in Temora, NSW, with a passion for animals and breeding. Following his undergraduate degree in Melbourne he managed an IVF and Cloning laboratory in Rockhampton, QLD.

Tom returned to post-graduate study at Armidale to complete his PhD in breeding program design. Tom has been working as a research fellow at UNE since graduating working on breeding program design focusing on optimising genotyping and/or reproductive technologies. He works closely with breeders, genetic consultants and scientists and believes in an “all-levels-together” approach.

In his spare time, Tom runs a small beef breeding enterprise east of Grafton, NSW. He is married with 2 young children and enjoys AFL, cricket and holidays at the beach.

Sam Clark

Sam Clark is a senior lecturer in Animal Breeding and Genetics at UNE. Sam has worked on a variety of projects in livestock genetics, ranging from breeding program design to methods used for genomic selection. Sam is also heavily involved in the collection of feed intake information at UNE’s Tullimba feedlot, which has included many cohorts of the Angus Sire Benchmarking Program.

In addition to Sam’s strong research background he also maintains a strong link to commercial beef cattle production through his family farm in Guyra NSW.