BREEDPLAN & SBTS Staff Present at the 23rd AAABG Conference

Three technical papers presented

Apr 2020

Over a six day period in October 2019, Armidale played host to the 23rd Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics (AAABG) Conference. A 220-strong crowd consisted of livestock scientists, industry service providers, educators, students and breeders from nine countries (Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Papa New Guinea, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States). Approximately 100 different organisations were represented, creating a perfect platform for information exchange and networking. As in previous years, the core purpose of the conference is to discuss research findings, increase participants’ knowledge, foster ideas and encourage collaboration.

BREEDPLAN Technical Specialist Shalanee Weerasinghe presented the paper “Genome-Wide Association Study of Carcase and Eating Quality Traits in Australian Angus Beef Cattle.” The objectives of this study were to investigate the presence of significant genomic regions in association with carcase and eating quality traits in Australian Angus beef cattle, and to quantify the amount of total genetic variation explained by such informative SNPs. This study revealed 3, 5, 1 and 13 significant SNPs associated with carcase weight (CWT), carcase eye muscle area (EMA), Meat Standards Australia Index (MSA_I) and ossification score (OSS) respectively. Outcomes of the study suggest that significant markers might be added to SNP arrays used for developing Angus-specific SNP panels. Inclusion of these trait-specific markers in genetic evaluation models might also improve the accuracy of prediction of breeding values for such traits. The full paper is available here.

SBTS Technical Officer Boyd Gudex presented a paper titled “Levels of Performance Recording in the Australian Beef Industry” in the John Vercoe Memorial Lecture session at the conference. This paper presented combined SBTS & TBTS Completeness of Performance results and highlighted numerous trends in the levels of performance recording. While slightly more heifers are registered than males, the opposite is true when it came to recording performance (bulls > heifers). Performance recording also decreased as animals got older (200d > 400d > 600d > Mwt), while the level of days to calving recording is much higher in TBTS stakeholder societies than in SBTS. The full paper is available here.

SBTS Technical Officer Catriona Millen presented a paper titled “Two Years In: Lessons from the Introduction of Hereford Single-Step BREEDPLAN”. The first multi-country multi-trait Single-Step BREEDPLAN analysis was released for the Hereford breed in Australia, New Zealand and Namibia in October 2017. Since then, producers have embraced genotyping, with a 3.8 fold increase in the number of animals genotyped in just 18 months. In particular, producers are increasingly genotyping young bulls and heifers. The inclusion of genomic information has 1) led to EBV movement for individual animals, 2) increased EBV variance (spread) and 3) increased EBV accuracy. Exclusion of hard-to-measure trait performance information from the analysis confirmed the importance of recording performance information to generate EBVs, even when utilising genomics. The paper concluded that the collection of both genotypes and performance information remains vital in allowing beef producers to best utilise Single-Step BREEPDLAN. The full paper is available here.