BreedObject Selection Indexes

Selection Indexes allow you to make balanced selection decisions. They take the hard work out of knowing how much emphasis to put on each individual trait by ranking animals on their overall genetic value for a particular production system.

Selection Indexes are calculated using the BreedObject software that has been developed by the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU) at the University of New England. BreedObject combines the BREEDPLAN EBVs of an animal with an economic weighting on each individual trait (based on costs of production and returns on output) to produce a single selection index value for each animal.

Selection Indexes enable cattle producers to make “balanced” selection decisions, by taking into account the relevant growth, carcase, birth and fertility attributes of each animal, to identify the animal that is most profitable for a particular production system.

Selection Indexes are now calculated for most Breed Societies conducting an across breed genetic evaluation with BREEDPLAN. Selection Indexes are intended for use by both seedstock and commercial producers, being designed to cater for the commercial market production systems of general relevance in each particular breed. A general description of the different Selection Indexes that are available for each breed are available by searching for the relevant breed + 'Selection Index' in the BREEDPLAN Help Centre.


Best Practice Animal Selection Protocol

  1. Select the index of most relevance to your production system and use to rank animals under consideration.
    • Selection indexes are designed for specific production systems therefore choosing an index for a different production system may select sub optimal animals for your production system. For example using a terminal sire index will have no emphasis on the maternal traits that are important in a self-replacing herd.
  2. Consider individual EBVs for the animal
    • The index is a broad selection tool and by considering individual EBVs, the selection can be refined further to match the producers breeding objective.
    • This is particularly important because animals may achieve a high index value via different attributes. One might have high growth but poorer calving ease, whereas a high calving ease bull may compensate for poorer growth via good carcase attributes.
    • Breeding objectives beyond the scope of the index – for example selecting a heifer bull.
  3. Consider other information. This may include (in no particular order):
    • Bull Fertility Information – a bull is no use if he cannot pass on his genetics.
    • Genetic Condition status if applicable.
    • Temperament
    • Visual Appraisal – ensuring that an animal is sound and fit for purpose.
    • Pedigree – avoidance of inbreeding if daughters of a related bull already exist within a herd.


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