Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society Implements Single-Step BREEDPLAN Evaluation

Dec 2023

The Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society has become the next breed society in the UK to incorporate genomic (DNA) information into their BREEDPLAN genetic evaluation, using a method known as Single-Step. The Single-Step BREEDPLAN evaluation utilises pedigree, performance and genomic information simultaneously, taking account of each animal’s actual genomic relationship with all other genotyped animals in the British Beef Shorthorn reference population. This major upgrade was implemented in the December 2023 British Beef Shorthorn BREEDPLAN evaluation.

Dr. Brad Crook, BREEDPLAN Manager Genetics Research & Development, says the implementation of Single-Step comes at a time when the Society is looking to emphasise the maternal attributes of the breed, with a focus on more sustainable beef production into the future. “We’ve had some very enthusiastic meetings involving the Breed Development Committee, looking at improving the recording levels for traits associated with fertility and efficiency” says Brad.

One of the outcomes has been more focus on mature cow size and structural traits, including udder development. He adds, “Timing this with the inclusion of genomics in their genetic evaluation means the Society and its members are better positioned to reap the benefits of their performance recording efforts.”

These benefits will become increasingly evident for young animals genotyped at an early stage in life, enabling young animals to achieve higher levels of EBV accuracy earlier - especially for traits expressed later in life – than is possible with a conventional (non-genomics) BREEDPLAN model. This in turn equates to greater accuracy of selection decisions, at an earlier stage in the growth of animals, for British Beef Shorthorn breeders.

The implementation of Single-Step BREEDPLAN will provide Society members with greater returns on their investment in genotyping their registered cattle population.