Three new profitability indexes for Wagyu

Wagyu-cows

New BreedObject $Indexes for Australian Wagyu producers were published from the first week of October, 2018.

The Australian Wagyu Association has announced the implementation of its three new World-leading BreedObject $Indexes.

This is a significant step forward for Wagyu Breeders to achieve faster rates of genetic gain and selection for profitability in Wagyu.

Following implementation of Single-step Wagyu BREEDPLAN in April 2018, the AWA has worked intensively with the Animal Genetics & Breeding Unit (AGBU) to develop and deliver the new Wagyu BreedObject $Indexes.

The three profitability $Indexes are designed to optimise profit outcomes from commercial self-replacing, Fullblood Terminal and F1 Terminal production systems. The three Indexes are:

• Self-replacing Breed $Index (SRI) • Fullblood Terminal $Index (FTI) • F1 Terminal $Index (F1 Index)

The AWA CEO, Dr Matt McDonagh reports that although the current Terminal Carcase Index (TCI) has been well adopted by industry, it is not a true profitability $Index as it does not take into account all sources of income and cost in Wagyu value chains (both on- and off-farm, or alternatively cow-calf and feeder phases).

“The TCI is a tool that uses the carcase weight and Marble Score EBVs to describe the genetic merit of the carcass value of an animal’s progeny,” he said.

“The AWA has previously informed members that the TCI is not intended for use in breeding replacement females because it does not consider traits associated with the cow such as fertility and that the TCI would be replaced with the implementation of BreedObject $Indexes.”

Dr McDonagh affirmed that each of the new $Indexes are targeted specifically to a defined production and market scenario and that members should identify and use the index that best suits their purpose. It is not appropriate to compare index values of different $Indexes as they are based on different production model assumptions.

“It is not the index with the highest $ value that you should use, it is the index that best reflects your production system”.

A profitability $Index allows comparison of animals within an index based on the estimated profitability of their progeny within the commercial supply chain.

New BreedObject $Indexes for Australian Wagyu producers will be published from the first week of October, 2018. These are:

1. SRI – Wagyu Self-replacing Breeding Index: ranks animals based on profitability for a Fullblood or Purebred self-replacing herd that retains heifers for breeding females and all steers and surplus females are finished through a feedlot.

2. FTI – Wagyu Fullblood Terminal $Index: ranks animals based on profitability for a commercial Fullblood or Purebred herd in which all progeny are finished through a feedlot.

3. F1 Index – Wagyu F1 Terminal $Index: ranks animals based on profitability for an F1 production system where all progeny are finished through a feedlot.

The new Self-replacing Breeding Index can be used to select bulls that will produce more profitable females for retention in Fullblood or Purebred herds. The Fullblood Terminal and F1 Terminal Indexes can be used to select bulls that will produce more profitable slaughter progeny.

With the implementation of BreedObject $Indexes, the AWA will publish the TCI alongside the new Indexes for a period of one month, to allow breeders to transition to using the three new BreedObject $Indexes.

Dr Brad Walmsley of the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit commented that “The $Indexes that Wagyu are implementing are the first publicly available indexes of their kind within Australia and the world for that matter.

Wagyu are at the cutting edge of genetic evaluation, having implemented Single-step BREEDPLAN that uses genomic information and now being the first Breed Association to implement the new generation of BreedObject $Indexes.”

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