Breedplan Explanation

Breedplan is a performance evaluation program that describes the genetic profile of beef cattle for a number of commercially important traits. This profile is given as an Estimated Breeding Value (EBV), expressed as a figure (+/-) relative to the breed benchmark of zero (0) for each trait.

The EBVs in this catalogue are Interim Group Breedplan EBVs and can be directly compared with Poll Herefords or Herefords from Australia or New Zealand that have 2012 Winter Group Breedplan EBV's.

To evaluate the performance profile of a bull, its EBVs can be directly compared with the EBVs of other bulls, against the breed benchmark of zero (0), or against the current breed average EBV for each trait, which for the 2010 calving year was

BIRTH WT

GENETIC MILK

200 DAY

400 DAY

600 DAY

P8 DAY DEPTH

EMA

CARC WT.

RBY %

IMF %

+4.3

+12.0

+27.0

+43.0

+62.0

+0.2

+.2.4

+38.0

+0.7

0.0

EBVs are provided for the following traits..

Birth Weight: The lower the birth weight EBV, the lighter is the birth weight potential of a sire or dam's progeny. Often low birth weight EBV's are associated with low growth EBV's, so aim for a good balance between the birth weight and growth EBV's to avoid unnecessary production penalties.

Calving Ease Direct

Calving Ease (DIR) EBVs are estimates of genetic differences in the ability of a sires' calves to be born unassisted from 2 year old heifers. The EBVs are reported as differences in the percentage of unassisted calvings. Higher, more positive, Calving Ease (DIR) EBVs are more favourable. For example, a bull with an EBV of +5.0% would be expected, on average, to produce 3% fewer difficult calvings from 2 year old heifers than a bull with an EBV of 1.0% (6% difference between the Sires, then halved as they only contribute half genetics). 

Calving Ease Daughters

Calving Ease (DTRS) EBVs are estimates of genetic differences in the ability of a sire's 2 year old daughters to calve without assistance. The EBVs are also reported as differences in the percentage of unassisted calvings. Higher, more positive, Calving Ease (DTRS) EBVs are more favourable. For example, a bull with an EBV of +4.0% would be expected to on average produce 2 year old daughters that have 3% less calving problems than the daughters of a bull with an EBVof-2.0%.

Genetic Milk: Reflects the extra calf weight from the genetic contribution to the dam's milk production. Genetic milk EBV for a cow is the best prediction of her milk producing ability; for a sire it is for his daughter's milk producing ability. The level of milk aimed for depends on the markets targeted and the environment in which the herd is run.

200 Day Weight: Indicates the relative genetic weight difference potential at 8-10 months of age.

400 Day Weight: Indicates the relative genetic advantage of a sire's progeny at yearling age. This EBV is important for selecting sires to breed progeny for the domestic markets (eg heavy retailor restaurant markets.)

600 Day Weight: Indicates the relative genetic weight difference potential beyond yearling age. This EBV is important in selecting sires to breed steers for heavier grass and grainfed export markets.

Fat Depth: Fat Depth EBV's are estimates of the genetic differences between animals in fat depth at either the 12th/13th rib or P8 rump site in a 300kg carcase. Bulls with negative (-) EBVs for this trait are expected to produce relatively leaner progeny than bulls with positive (+) EBVs at any given carcase weight. Whilst lower fat may give increased Yield%, neutral or slightly positive fat is advantageous for most natural pasture production systems.

EMA: EMA EBV's are estimates of the genetic differences between animals in eye muscle area at the 12th/13th rib site in a 300kg carcase. Bulls with higher EBV's for this trait are expected to produce progeny with a relatively larger (more favourable) eye muscle area than progeny of bulls with a lower EBV. Where positive fat is needed (eg pasture system), then higher EMA EBV's will maintain and/or increase Yield% at any particular carcase weight. Higher EMA's also assist better carcase fat distribution for better chiller results.

Carcase weight (kg): Based on abattoir carcase records and is an indicator of the genetic differences in untrimmed hot carcase weight at the standard age of 650 days.

Retail Beef Yield % (RBY%): Estimates the genetic differences between animals for percentage retail beef yield in a 300kg carcase with 2-3mm fat trim and adjusted to 85% chemical lean. Larger more positive Yield% values are more desirable.

Intra-Muscular fat% (IMF%): Estimates the genetic differences in intra­ muscular fat at 12/13th rib site in a 300kg carcase. IMF can enhance eating quality of beef and moderate amounts are sort after for short and medium fed feedlot cattle.

Accuracies: The accuracy provides a measure of the reliability of the EBV. The higher the value, the less likelihood of the EBV changing with the addition of more performance records on the animal.

$Indexes

The BreedObject $Index is a tool designed to help breed more profitable cattle. The technology was developed by the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), a joint institute of NSW Agriculture and the University of New England. There are potentially 18 EBV's now available to define the animals breeding value, so simplification into a single $Index. designed for specific markets,canbe of great assistance.

The Index indicates the possible extra dollars eamed per cow joined in self replacing herds and is derived from all the EBV values available for anindividual.

eg. A $Index difference of $20 between 2 potential sires, for the same breeding objective, would give the ability to earn an extra $10 per cow joined, to the higher Indexing bull. If this bull was joined to total of 300 cows during his herd life, he could generate an additional $3000 ($10 x 300).

The Index is calculated by giving different 'weightings' to the EBV's depending on the market and the relative economic importance of the traits, when looking at the 20 yr profitability of a self replacing herd. Thus, a true balance to selection is facilitated.

The fact that several bulls may have the same $Index for any given market does not necessarily mean that they will all suit your breeding objectives. That is, Breed Object can be used as a 'screening' device to select animals within the $index range suitable to you. For example, 3 bulls may have an index of $80, but have birth weight EBV's of 2.4,4.5 and 6.2. If low birth weight is a priority for your herd,the bull with the EBV of 2.4 would be your choice if all his other EBV's were acceptable.

As with the EBV values, a benchmark of the average $Index for all the bull calves born nationally in 2010 is given.

There are currently four different selection indexes calculated for Australian
Hereford animals. These are:

  • Supermarket Index
  • Grain Fed Steer Index
  • Grass Fed Steer Index
  • EU Index

Each selection index describes a different production/market scenario and relates to a typical, self replacing Hereford herd in temperate Australia targeting the following specifications.

Supermarket Index -  Estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined for an example commercial herd targeting the domestic supermarket trade. Steers are either finished on grass or grain (eg. 50- 70 days). Steers are assumed marketed at 450 kg live weight (250 kg HSCW and 12 mm PB fat depth) at 17 months of age. Daughters are retained for breeding. In response to industry feedback regarding eating quality and tenderness, a small premium has been placed on marbling.

Grass Fed Steer Index - Estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined for an example commercial herd targeting pasture finished steers. Steers are assumed marketed at 600 kg live weight (330 kg HSCW and 8 mm PB fat depth) at 23 months of age. Daughters are retained for breeding. In response to industry feedback regarding eating quality and tenderness, a small premium has been placed on marbling.

Grain Fed Steer Index - Estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined for an example commercial herd targeting pasture grown steers with a 125 day feedlot finishing period for the grain fed markets. Steers are assumed marketed at 600 kg live weight (330 kg HSCW and 20 mm PB fat depth) at 20months of age. Daughters are retained for breeding. There is a significant premium if steers reach a marble score of 2 or greater.

EU Index - Estimates the genetic differences between animals in net profitability per cow joined for an example commercial herd targeting pasture finished steers for the EU market. Steers are assumed marketed at 620 kg live weight (340 kg HSCW and 14 mm PS fat depth) at 24 months of age. Daughters are retained for breeding. There is no marbling requirement. All selection index values have been derived using Breed Object technology.