More importantly, vital data has been collected on the ASBP animals which is giving cattle breeders using Angus genetics higher accuracy Estimated Breeding Values for commercially relevant traits.
Angus Australia’s Strategic Project Manager, Mr Christian Duff explained “this was particularly valuable for hard-to-measure traits collected on ASBP animals in areas such as beef quality and quantity, female reproduction and immune response. The project data also enables effective utilisation of genomic based technologies.”
The ASBP is the flagship research and development initiative undertaken by Angus Australia with the main aim of building a highly effective reference population of genotypes and phenotypes on contemporary Australian Angus cattle.
Mr Duff added “The program allows cattle breeders using Angus genetics to stay at the cutting edge of breeding technologies and rates of genetic gain for commercial production and profit.”
The 10-year milestone also coincides with the recent decision to extend the program to include Cohort 9 (2019 born calves), Cohort 10 (2020 born calves) and Cohort 11 (2021 born calves). Combined with previous Cohorts (1 to 8), this will produce a reference population of over 12,000 Angus animals from 400 Angus sires. Importantly, the progeny are genotyped and their phenotypes comprehensively measured from birth to slaughter for steers, and from birth to first parity for heifers.
As the program outcomes flow on to the commercial beef industry, the ASBP attracts co-funding support through the MLA Donor Company scheme. Research and supply chain partnerships are also important for a program of this scale and complexity.
“Partnerships are critical to ASBP. This includes valued support from Angus Australia members nominating bulls, co-operator cow herd owners, supply chain partners such as Rangers Valley feedlot Vetoquinol for artificial reproduction advice and genotyping companies. Without their support the ASBP would basically not happen.” Mr Duff said.
“Collaboration with research organisations are also vital and involves groups such as the University of New England, CSIRO, NSW DPI and ALMTech.”
Chair of the ASBP Consultative Committee, Stephen Chase, Waitara Angus, highlights the benefits of being involved in the program,
“The ASBP has benefited the industry in many ways, helping to ensure that BREEDPLAN is a tool breeders can trust. It has provided a quality reference population that has phenotypes for many traits. It has provided a population to study new, harder to measure traits including immune competency, retail beef yield, feed efficiency, emissions, structure and other added extras.