Angus Australia recently announced a partnership with the School of Environmental and Rural Science at the University of New England (UNE) to undertake research into the genetics of traits related to the productivity and profitability of the female breeding herd.
This research project, titled “Breeding Better Breeders”, will focus on better describing the genetics of Angus animals for traits associated with the maintenance requirements of the female breeding herd, female longevity, structural soundness and fertility
.To assist with this research, members are encouraged to collect and submit a range of additional performance measurements for their mature females, including:
- Body condition score
- Hip height
- Structural soundness (feet, leg and udder scores)
- Female fertility
The performance measurements collected will assist researchers to better understand the genetics of these traits, and in time, to generate research breeding values for a range of new traits related to the productivity and profitability of the female breeding herd.
Body condition score and hip height measurements should be collected in association with the collection of mature weights when the 200 day weights for the progeny of the females are collected. Feet and leg scores can be collected at any time, while udder scores should be collected at the time of calving. Unlike structural scores for young animals, structural score information for mature cows do not need to be collected by an accredited scorer
Mature weight, body condition scores and hip height measurements can also be repeated at the start of joining and pre calving for any members who are willing to collect multiple measurements.
In addition to the collection of additional performance measurements, members are also encouraged to consider collecting DNA samples and genotyping any females who have not been previously genotyped with the Angus GS or HD50K for Angus products, or their predecessors.
The availability of both performance measurements and genomic information for females will assist with the development of a reference population for these traits, and with the utilisation of genomic information in any research breeding values thatare calculated.
Mature females can be genotyped with either the Angus uLD or Angus GS products available via Neogen, or the HD50K for Angus product available via Zoetis. Angus uLD is an ultra-low density, low cost genomic product that has been developed specifically for genomically testing mature Australian Angus seedstock females.
To further discuss the collection of performance measurements for mature females or genotyping options, please contact either Angus Australia’s Breed Development Officer, Matt Reynolds, on (02) 6773 4626, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Angus Australia’s Breed Development & Extension Manager, Andrew Byrne, on (02) 6773 4618, email@example.com.