It’s a World First! Multi-Country Single-Step BREEDPLAN analysis for the Hereford breed

Single-Step BREEDPLAN for the Hereford breed in Australia, New Zealand and Namibia

Apr 2020

BREEDPLAN is pleased to announce the release of a world first: a multi-country Single-Step BREEDPLAN analysis for the Hereford breed, released as the mid-October 2017 Hereford GROUP BREEDPLAN analysis. “This will allow the Hereford breed in Australia, New Zealand and Namibia to take advantage of cutting-edge analytical software that now includes genomics,” said Dr. Brad Crook, BREEDPLAN (ABRI).

The release of Single-Step BREEDPLAN heralds a new age in genetic evaluation technology available to the beef cattle industry, and specifically the Hereford breed in Australia, New Zealand and Namibia. This new genetic analysis combines pedigree, performance and genomic (DNA) information together in a complete multi-trait BREEDPLAN analysis of birth, growth, fertility, carcase and feed intake traits. Genomic information now contributes to the EBV and accuracy calculations of genotyped animals and their relatives.


What is Single-Step BREEDPLAN?

Single-Step BREEDPLAN is a new genetic analysis where pedigree, performance and genomic information is processed and analysed all together. The single-step analysis takes account of each animal’s actual genetic relationship based on its genotype with all other genotyped animals, including those in the reference population. The reference population is the set of Hereford animals within the Hereford BREEDPLAN analysis that have genotypes (SNP data) and phenotypes (performance records) for a particular trait. “Single-Step doesn’t remove the need for ongoing collection of accurate phenotypes”, said Dr. Alex Ball, Strategic and Innovation Manager at Herefords Australia. “It is important that breeders embrace genotyping if they are going to extract any benefit from Single-Step”.


Overall, the most important outcomes of introducing Single-Step BREEDPLAN are:

  • Genomic information will contribute to all traits that have EBVs calculated within the main multi-trait BREEDPLAN analysis.
  • Unknown parents may be identified (providing animals have genomic information available).
  • Genomic information contributes not only to EBVs of genotyped animals but also contributes to EBVs of their relatives (e.g. parents, progeny).
  • With a traditional pedigree based approach, the relationships between animals within Hereford BREEDPLAN are determined by pedigree alone. For example, pedigree would predict that the genetic relationship between full siblings (i.e. animals with the same sire and dam) is 0.5. This means that full siblings are predicted to have 50% of genes in common when calculating traditional pedigree-based breeding values. In Single-Step BREEDPLAN, however, SNP genotypes are used to determine the actual degree of relationship between individuals. In the case of full siblings, this may now vary from 0.35 to 0.65 – rather than 0.5 as would be assumed in a traditional approach to genetic evaluation. This will allow for improved accuracy in the EBVs calculated.



With the release of the mid-October 2017 BREEDPLAN results, the Hereford breed in Australia, New Zealand and Namibia has become the first breed world-wide to implement a multi-country Single-Step BREEDPLAN analysis. Genomic information as well as pedigree and performance data is now being used to calculate Hereford BREEDPLAN EBVs and accuracies.