How accurate is your pedigree – are you sale ready?

July 2, 2019 12:18 pm

Errors in the parentage recorded for an animal compromises the reliability by which the information presented accurately describes the sale lot. Not only is the integrity of the pedigree information compromised, but also the integrity of the Angus TACE EBVs and genetic condition status that are displayed for the animal. 

The following article outlines some steps that Angus seedstock producers can take to minimise the chance of parentage errors occurring, and in turn, to mitigate the potential risk posed by the sale of an animal with a parentage error.   

It is important to note that these recommendations are provided as general, non-legal in nature advice, and do not relate to the specific case mentioned above. Seedstock producers would be well advised to obtain independent advice, legal or otherwise, for their own specific circumstances.

  1. Accurate Record Keeping – While it should be assumed as a given, it is important that seedstock breeders take due diligence to maintain accurate joining and calving records, which in turn, will facilitate the maintenance of accurate parentage information for their animals. A small percentage of errors are inevitable, but those members who are organised, with good recording practices in place, have greatly reduced probability of experiencing errors in the parentage details that are displayed for their sale lots.
  2. DNA Sire Verify All Sale Lots – It is strongly recommended that all lots offered for sale are at a minimum, DNA sire verified, and ideally, fully DNA parent verified (i.e. both sire and dam) prior to the sale.  This is particularly important for high value stock, or bulls that can subsequently have a major impact in the herd of the purchaser.

    DNA parentage verification can be conducted by genotyping all sale lots with a base parentage panel of $25.85 (inc GST), and will either confirm that the sire and/or dam has been correctly identified, or alternatively, enable the sire and/or dam to be amended prior to sale.It is essential when collecting DNA samples for parentage verification that very diligent sampling protocols are in place to ensure the animal from which the sample has been collected is accurately identified. Any errors in the animals to which samples are allocated will result in errors in any subsequent DNA sire verification that is conducted from those samples.

  3. Display Parentage Verification Status of Sale Lots – Whether the parentage of each sale lot has been confirmed via DNA testing, and consequently the inherent risk of a parentage error existing, should be transparently displayed in all sale catalogues and advertisements via the display of a suffix at the end of each animal’s name.

    The display of parentage verification status as a suffix to an animal’s name is now a requirement within Angus Australia’s Regulations, with suffixes as follows:PV  both the animal’s parents have been verified by DNA
    SV  the animal’s sire has been verified by DNA
    DV  the animal’s dam has been verified by DNA
    #     DNA verification has not been conducted
    E     DNA verification has identified that the animal’s sire and/or dam may possibly be incorrect, but this can-not be confirmed conclusively

  4. Ensure Sale Offerings Qualify as Angus Sire Assured – It is strongly recommended that all sale offerings qualify, as being, at a minimum, “Angus Sire Assured” within the Angus Parentage Assurance program, and are clearly identified as such through the display of the appropriate logo in all sale catalogues and advertisements,

    The Angus Parentage Assurance program was introduced in November 2018, and highlights sale or semen catalogues listed on the Angus Australia website where DNA testing has been conducted to verify the parentage of all lots being offered for sale.Catalogues qualify as being “Angus Sire Assured” when all lots have been DNA sire verified, while catalogues qualify as being “Angus Parentage Assured” when all lots have been DNA parent verified, confirming both the sire and the dam are correct.

  5. Utilise Angus Australia’s Sale Catalogue Services – It is recommended that sale catalogues and advertisements be compiled using data files supplied by Angus Australia.

    Amongst a range of sale catalogue services, Angus Australia can supply files containing up to date pedigree and EBV details for all sale lots. Requesting and utilising files provided by Angus Australia is a useful way of minimising potential transcription errors when compiling information for sale lots, ensuring that all information is correct at the time of publication.

  6. Display of Disclaimers – Whilst the recent court ruling has made it somewhat unclear as to how much legal protection is offered by written disclaimers when errors are subsequently identified in the information presented on sale lots, nevertheless, it is recommended that a written disclaimer should be clearly displayed in all sale catalogues, that reads similar to the following:

    Animal details included in this catalogue, including but not limited to pedigree, DNA information, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and Index values, are based on information provided by the breeder or owner of the animal. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information provided in this catalogue was correct at the time of publication, neither the vendor, Angus Australia or the selling agents assume any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information, nor for the outcome (including consequential loss) of any action taken based on this information. 

  7. Consider Additional Genomic Testing – While genotyping with a base parentage panel is sufficient for DNA parentage verification, consideration should be given to an alternative, better approach, which is to genomically test all sale lots with either the Angus GS or HD50K for Angus products prior to the sale.

    While the cost of this option is higher than a base parentage panel (~$50 versus $25.85), genotyping with these products provides not only parentage verification, but will also improve the reliability with which the EBVs that are presented describe the genetics of the sale lots.Consideration can also be given to testing sale lots for any known genetic conditions, however is unlikely that this would be necessary in most circumstances.

  8. Customer is King – While following the steps outlined in the beforementioned recommendations will assist to minimise the chance of parentage errors occurring, and in turn, to mitigate the potential risk posed by the sale of an animal with a parentage error, there is no replacement for the maintenance of a good relationship between vendor and purchaser.

    As in any business, maintaining a good relationship with the customer, being the purchaser of the sale lot, will go a long way to resolving any issues, be it parentage errors or otherwise, that may inadvertently arise.

Should you have any questions, or to further discuss the responsibility that seedstock producers have when presenting pedigree information on animals, please don’t hesitate to contact staff at Angus Australia on (02) 6773 4600 for assistance and advice.