Angus Australia is pleased to announce that a number of significant enhancements will shortly be made to the calculation of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for Angus cattle in Australia and New Zealand.   

The enhancements form part of the annual updates that Angus Australia makes to the TransTasman Angus Cattle Evaluation, with the enhancements scheduled for implementation in the December 2022 analysis.   

Angus Australia’s General Manager Genetic Improvement, Mr Christian Duff explained that Angus Australia is focussed on providing a world leading genetic evaluation service to Angus breeders.   

“The annual updates that are made to the TransTasman Angus Cattle Evaluation ensure that the EBVs published for Angus animals continue to be the best possible estimate of an animal’s breeding value, maximising the genetic improvement that is being achieved in Angus breeding programs”, said Mr Duff.   

“The enhancements are made possible through strong collaboration with R&D and service delivery partners, particularly the Animal Genetics & Breeding Unit (AGBU), the Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI) and CSIRO – Australia’s national science agency.”, Mr Duff added.      

The enhancements scheduled for implementation in 2022 are focused on providing Angus breeders with the tools to make more accurate selection decisions from the availability of next generation breeding values, particularly for the EBVs related to carcase weight, quality and yield, while also introducing evaluation efficiencies that will ensure the long term viability of the genetic evaluation.     

The enhancements scheduled for implementation in 2022 broadly fall into five main categories: 

  • New variance components (adjustment factors, heritabilities, genetic correlations) 
  • New algorithm for calculating EBV Accuracies (TBLUP) 
  • New software for Docility EBVs 
  • Publication of Leg Angle EBVs 
  • Publication of ImmuneDEX RBVs for genotyped animals 

Angus Australia’s Genetic Evaluation Manager, Mr Andrew Byrne, highlighted that the introduction of new variance components represents one of the most significant updates to the TransTasman Angus Cattle Evaluation in recent times.   

“The availability of comprehensive phenotypic measurements on modern Angus animals in the Angus Sire Benchmarking Program, particularly abattoir carcase measurements, has provided geneticists at AGBU in Armidale with an invaluable resource for the estimation of variance components, such as the heritability of each trait and the genetic relationship between different traits”.  

“The availability of the new variance component estimates will result in the calculation of EBVs that better predict the breeding values of contemporary Angus animals”.      

“Angus breeders should expect that the EBVs that are calculated for individual animals may change considerably when the enhancements are implemented, particularly for the carcase traits”, Mr Byrne said.   

Angus Australia has a number of activities planned in coming months to explain the enhancements to Angus breeders across Australia and New Zealand.   

Extension Manager at Angus Australia, Mr Jake Phillips explained that these activities will include a specific Angus CONNECT online webinar in mid November, a series of face-to-face and online presentations to Angus breeder groups across Australia and New Zealand in November and December, a face-to-face workshop with industry service providers in early December, accompanied by the distribution of comprehensive explanatory information to Angus breeders via mail and electronically in November.  

“Small online discussion group sessions will also be facilitated in early December after the implementation of the enhancements for interested Angus seedstock breeders”, said Mr Phillips.   

Details about some of these activities have been announced and communicated to Angus breeders on the Angus Australia website, in the Angus Weekly electronic newsletter, and in Angus Australia social network channels.

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Genetics & Service Providers Workshop 2022

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