Brahman breeders across Southern Africa now have access to BREEDPLAN EBVs that include genomic (DNA) information, following the release of the November 2023 Brahman BREEDPLAN analysis for Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. This significant enhancement uses a methodology known as Single-Step.
The introduction of Single-Step BREEDPLAN for the Brahman Cattle Breeders’ Society of Namibia, the Brahman Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa and Brahman breeders recording with the Zimbabwe Herd Book has required a considerable amount of research, testing and validation to ensure the genotypes are used as correctly and accurately as possible.
Dr Brad Crook, BREEDPLAN Manager Genetics Research and Development, explains. “Collaboration among the three Brahman societies has resulted in quite a well-structured reference population, where most genotyped animals are also well-recorded for traits of importance to the Brahman breed in Southern Africa. This includes feed efficiency, fertility and cow weight traits, all of which are becoming increasingly important in developing breeding programs for sustainable beef production. Brahman breeders can tap into this reference population by genotyping their own cattle and gaining greater accuracy on these important traits at earlier ages in the herd.”
What are the advantages of Single-Step BREEDPLAN?
There are advantages that come with genomics and the Single-Step BREEDPLAN model. When young animals are genotyped at an early stage in life, they can achieve higher levels of EBV accuracy earlier in life – especially for traits expressed later in life – than is possible with a conventional (non-genomics) BREEDPLAN model. This equates to greater accuracy of selection decisions, at an earlier stage in the growth of animals, for Brahman breeders across Southern Africa.
Furthermore, for breeders with small herds, accuracy levels are often limited by small contemporary group sizes even when pedigree and performance records are available. If calves are genotyped, however, they can accumulate additional information – and accuracy – via their relationship to the wider genotyped and performance recorded population.
Ultimately, the implementation of Single-Step BREEDPLAN for the Brahman breed across Southern Africa provides members of the Brahman Cattle Breeders’ Society of Namibia and the Brahman Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa, as well as Brahman breeders recording with the Zimbabwe Herd Book, with greater returns on their investment in the genotyping of seedstock cattle.