Droughtmaster Australia has worked collaboratively with staff at the Animal Genetics & Breeding Unit (AGBU) and the Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI) to incorporate genomic information into the calculation of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) within Droughtmaster BREEDPLAN, using a method known as Single-Step. This major upgrade was implemented in the October 2023 Droughtmaster BREEDPLAN Evaluation.
What is Single-Step BREEDPLAN?
Single-Step BREEDPLAN uses analytical software developed by AGBU, a joint venture of NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and the University of New England (UNE), funded by Meat and Livestock Australia Limited (MLA).
The Single-Step BREEDPLAN evaluation represents a new genetic analysis for the Droughtmaster breed, where pedigree, performance and genomic (SNP) information will be processed and analysed together “in a single step”.
The Single-Step method represents a major leap forward in how EBV and accuracy calculations are made by accounting for the true genomic relationships that exist among genotyped Droughtmaster animals and how these genotypes relate to performance records on Droughtmaster animals in the BREEDPLAN analysis. The inclusion of SNP genotypes in Single-Step BREEDPLAN is expected to contribute to changes in EBVs and accuracy that overall will improve the accuracy of prediction of EBVs and the selection decisions to be made.
Other Changes to the Droughtmaster Analysis
For the first time, a selection index has been released for Droughtmaster Australia. This is the Jap Ox selection index, released in conjunction with the October 2023 Droughtmaster BREEDPLAN analysis.
While BREEDPLAN EBVs provide cattle producers with a comprehensive range of information regarding the genetic merit of an animal, it can be difficult to identify the appropriate level of emphasis to be placed on each EBV to achieve maximum profitability. BreedObject selection indexes are tools that help in solving this dilemma.
The BreedObject software combines the BREEDPLAN EBVs for an animal with an economic weighting (based on costs of production and returns on outputs) to produce selection index values. As selection indexes balance the relative growth, carcase and fertility genetic merits of each animal, they can identify the animals that are most profitable for a particular production system. Thus, selection indexes enable cattle producers to make selection decisions that account for both the short-term profit generated by a sire through the sale of his progeny, and (where applicable) the longer-term profit generated by his daughters in a self-replacing cow herd.
The new Jap Ox selection index was developed by Droughtmaster Australia in conjunction with staff from BREEDPLAN. Further information about the new Jap Ox selection index is available from the Help Centre on the BREEDPLAN website here.
The October 2023 Droughtmaster BREEDPLAN analysis has included a major upgrade. Single-Step software has been introduced, meaning that genomic information, along with pedigree and performance data, will now be used in the calculation of BREEDPLAN EBVs for Droughtmaster Australia animals. Additionally, a new Jap Ox selection index has also been released for the Droughtmaster breed.