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The 2015 British Cattle Breeders Conference (link http://cattlebreeders.org.uk/ ) provided plenty of food for thought. The focus of the event was “co-operation” and although a broad range of topics were discussed, breeding and genetic improvement was firmly in the spotlight. Dr Thierry Pabiou, Geneticist with the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (link http://www.icbf.com/) discussed work undertaken as part of Interbeef (link http://www.icar.org/pages/working_groups/wg_interbeef.htm). Interbeef is a collaborative project which will enable a comparison of the genetic merit of cattle bred or used in different countries. Current work has focussed on the Limousin and Charolais breeds and initial findings have successfully shown that Limousin cattle reared in the UK can be genetically compared to those bred in France, Ireland and seven other European countries. The service allows breeders to identify where their animals rank within a greater genetic pool of animals and also increases the accuracy values of imported bulls and their progeny. Dr Thierry Pabiou stressed that this would inevitably lead to greater rates of genetic gain in beef cattle. Dr Kirsty Moore (link http://www.sruc.ac.uk/kmoore ) of SRUC’s EGENES service described how the information produced by Interbeef will be used in the evaluation of UK Limousin cattle to enhance the Estimated Breeding Values produced for the breed. Pearce Hughes from Asda, told the audience about the efforts they are making to increase the sustainability of beef supply in the UK through their National Suckler Strategy Group. The use of superior genetics has played a big part in this. He stressed that the use of artificial insemination was an important way to access these genes. Bulls like Crugeran Llewelyn (Stabiliser) (link http://www.basco.org/beef/animalmanager/animaldetails/id/8857988 ) and Alwent Goldbar (Charolais) (link http://abri.une.edu.au/online/cgi-bin/i4.dll?1=3E372E28&2=232F5F&3=56&5=2B3C2B3C3A&6=27265C262722252622&9=5B525B5C ) are already being subsidised to group members due to their impressive EBVs for performance traits. Tom Gubbins, director of Te-Mania Angus (link www.temaniaangus.com/ ) in Australia, wowed the audience with his progressive approach to running a breeding business. Te-Mania are pedigree bull or ‘seedstock’ producers, running 1800 cows and typically selling 700-800 breeding bulls each year. Everything they do is centred around genetic improvement and best practice. The entire herd are performance recorded and this means they have made phenomenal rates of genetic gain. Mr Gubbins stated that as bull breeders they saw the importance of identifying economically important performance traits and improving them. The main challenge facing the herd is finding the right sires to maintain current rates of genetic gain. Tom stressed that an international collaboration could offer real benefits to a breed like the Aberdeen Angus which is kept in many different countries, but that at present this approach was not being used – even when datasets from different countries are being held in the same office. The conference showed there are beef producers across the world that are trying to increase the efficiency and sustainability of beef production and genetic improvement plays a key role in this. The UK is at the forefront of much of this work – with AHDB Beef and Lamb supported projects such as the beef feed efficiency project (link http://www.eblex.org.uk/news-releases/eblex-carry-landmark-research-project-beef-feed-efficiency/ ) and a project looking to generate EBVs from abattoir derived carcase data (link http://www.eblex.org.uk/research/genetic-selection/genetic-selection-beef/carcass-trait-evaluations/ ) likely to provide exciting new tools for the industry in the years to come.