History

  • ABRI Established

    Dr Arthur Rickards established the Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI) from the University of New England (UNE) gardener's cottage in 1968 after he had observed that the farming community was keen to adopt the new agricultural technologies being developed at UNE, but an infrastructure gap prevented easy knowledge transfer between research and application.

    1968

  • ABRI Open for Business

    The Agricultural Business Research Institute opened for business on 1 July, 1970. In the early days ABRI had 3 staff and a computer system funded by the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation.

    1970

  • Operators of Australia's National Beef Recording Scheme

    ABRI was announced as the operator of Australia's National Beef Recording Scheme (NBRS) with the support of the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation (AMLC). Records maintained in a central data processing system by ABRI. The NBRS remains the core of ABRI’s business, and the BREEDPLAN suite of genetic evaluation software that drives the scheme is used worldwide.

    1972

  • Animal Genetics Breeding Unit Established

    The Animal Genetics Breeding Unit (AGBU), which was established at UNE to support ABRI with research and development, has become a world leader in livestock genetics in its own right, while continuing to strengthen ABRI’s capability.

    1972

  • ABRI Produces First EBVs

    In 1982 the first set of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) were produced by ABRI for the Simmental breed.

    1982

  • BREEDPLAN Developed

    First generation BREEDPLAN was introduced for within-herd evaluation. Within 12 months, the GROUP BREEDPLAN module added to accommodate across-herd evaluation. Approximately 500 users were enrolled. Also during the 1980s was the launch of the New England computerised marketing sale-by-description of livestock (which has led to AuctionsPlus), as well as other ventures.

    1985

  • International BREEDPLAN

    International marketing of the breed registry and BREEDPLAN systems started. Selection Indexes using BreedObject software were also developed during the 90s. During this time, NSW Agriculture and major breed societies played a major role in extension of genetic selection technologies.

    1990

  • 3rd Gen BREEDPLAN

    The third generation of BREEDPLAN was implemented in 1991, with a completely new computing algorithm. This increased the range of traits and improved efficiency of use of information. The capability for plotting genetic trends made available by ABRI.

    1991

  • BreedObject and New Fertility EBVs

    B-OBJECT (later BreedObject) was released. Selection Indexes combine BREEDPLAN EBVs into a single value and allow producers to identify animals that are most profitable in a given production system. New fertility EBVs released.

    1992

  • First TransTasman Analysis and New CE EBV

    The first TransTasman BREEDPLAN analysis, combining data from Australian and New Zealand breed societies in a single analysis, was pioneered for the Limousin breed. A number of societies quickly transitioned to TransTasman BREEDPLAN analyses over subsequent years. Calving Ease EBVs were also released.

    1994

  • BREEDPLAN Version 4 Launched

    BREEDPLAN Version 4 was introduced, which analysed all traits except Calving Ease in a single analysis, eliminating some anomalies which occurred when traits were analysed separately. Calving Ease analyses were handled separately with CE score, birth weight and gestation length using a threshold model. Some new traits were introduced. BREEDPLAN was dealing increasingly with breed societies rather than individual breeders; and involvement of larger herds was increasing.

    1996

  • TBTS Formed

    BREEDPLAN extension service Tropical Beef Technology Services (TBTS) was formed with the objective of maximising the understanding and use of genetic technologies in the Australian beef industry. This service is a joint initiative of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), the Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI) and breed societies that run the majority of their cattle in Northern Australia.

    1997

  • BREEDPLAN Version 4.1 Released

    The release of BREEDPLAN Version 4.1 included the ability to use overseas information. A new genetic grouping strategy was also introduced, as was a carcase trait module and methodology for including crossbred and across-breed EBVs. Enhancements to BreedObject allowed for refinements of breeding objectives to accommodate new EBVs, including Intramuscular Fat (marbling).

    1999

  • BREEDPLAN Version 4.2 Released

    BREEDPLAN version 4.2 included separate analyses for docility and net feed intake, revised handling of mature cow weight data, and some revision to trait parameters.

    2002

  • SBTS Formed & BREEDPLAN Version 4.3 Released

    In a similar manner to TBTS, Southern Beef Technology Services (SBTS) was formed to service the breed societies that run the majority of their cattle in Southern Australia.  The release of BREEDPLAN Version 4.3 saw a revision of procedures for handling imported expected progeny differences (EPDs) from overseas and the introduction of a new solving algorithm. BREEDPLAN continued to expand, servicing 24 breed societies in Australia and numerous overseas clients.

    2005

  • Marker Assisted BREEDPLAN EBVs & New Traits Released

    2008 was a big year, with the release of the first BREEDPLAN Marker Assisted EBVs in the form of Shear Force EBVs for Australian Brahman. This was the first time that DNA information had been included in the calculation of BREEDPLAN EBVs. 2008 also saw the release of Structural Soundness EBVs (Angus) and Flight Time EBVs (Brahman and Santa Gertrudis).

    2008

  • International Expansion of BREEDPLAN

    Dr Arthur Rickards retired from his role as ABRI's Managing Director in 2011. ABRI had expanded BREEDPLAN internationally to include the USA, Canada, the UK, Europe, Southern Africa, South America and New Zealand.

    2011

  • Release of Version 6 BREEDPLAN

    Two Version 6 BREEDPLAN iterations saw additional traits (flight time, shear force and net feed intake) added to the multi-trait BLUP analysis. Additional enhancements included the migration of the BREEDPLAN analysis to a Linux platform, the introduction of a revised solving algorithm, revised genetic grouping methodology and the capacity for post-BLUP blending of genomic prediction values into BLUP solutions.

    2011

  • First Single-Step BREEDPLAN Analysis Released

    The first Single-Step BREEDPLAN analysis was released for Australian Brahman. The Single-Step BREEDPLAN analysis uses genomic (DNA) information in addition to the pedigree and performance information used in a traditional BREEDPLAN analysis .Since 2017, Single-Step BREEDPLAN analyses have been released for several more BREEDPLAN evaluations, while development continues for others.

    2017

  • New Fertility Traits

    Availability of new fertility trait EBVs (percent normal sperm, lactation anoestrus and heifer age at puberty) for Brahman and other tropically adapted breeds

    2017

  • Multi-Breed BREEDPLAN

    Launch of multi-breed BREEDPLAN with inclusion of data from the Northern Multibreed Research Database into the Brahman breed evaluation. Data included over 5000 multi-breed animals recorded for growth, ultrasound scan, flight time, abattoir carcase and meat quality traits, as well as a range of female fertility traits and SNP genotypes. Since then, multi-breed BREEDPLAN has been extended to other tropically adapted breeds.

    2018

  • Calving Ease Genomics

    Integration of genomics in the BREEDPLAN analysis of calving ease. Single-step methodology was used while retaining a threshold model with inclusion of birth weight and gestation length records.

    2019

  • Current

    ABRI develops a commercial strategy for implementing large-scale international genetic evaluations using BREEDPLAN.

    2020