Livestock

New software targets EBVs

By Country News

Selection for genetic efficiency during times of drought and high feed costs will soon be a reality for commercial beef producers.

Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit principal scientist David Johnston outlined the new BreedObject Version 6.0 at the Reiland Angus seminar at Wagga Wagga on July 10.

BreedObject is a software tool for use with BREEDPLAN to assist the targeting of beef breeding programs by calculating the optimum mix of estimated breeding values (EBVs) for any give situation.

The available BREEDPLAN EBVs are given economic weightings and combined into a single EBV, enabling a group of animals to be ranked for a variety of purposes.

BreedObject Version 6.0 will include NFI (net feed intake) EBVs in the indexes and an improved inclusion of all feed costs.

Features include an enhanced feedlot phase modelling for pasture-feedlot systems, greater growth curve modelling, enhanced cow weight and cow condition score valuing, and methane (carbon) costing.

Example modelling was based on a self-replacing herd of 650kg cows in body condition score three at joining, producing 100-day fed steers weighing 640kg at 22 months.

Dr Johnston said Angus bulls might change in their ranking under BreedObject 6.0 when accounting for feed costs, feed requirement and residual feed intake.

‘‘There is no one trait that drives profitability — they all impact differently on costs and returns,’’ he said.

‘‘Traits also differ in their degree of genetic control and some traits can cause an unfavourable change in another.

‘‘BreedObject models your view of the future — the outcome of mating a bull to a cow today will be five to 10 years before you see it in the daughters within the herd.’’