The Australian Poll Gene Marker test is used to measure the likelihood that a polled animal only carries the polled gene.
The owners of the animals involved in the CRC and MLA 3000 young animals project will be the first in Australia to receive the new genomic breeding values.
The bull sale season is just about upon us and it is important to understand and appreciate the genetic selection information that will be provided on many Brahman Bulls this season. A very powerful selection tool for commercial and seedstock producers alike are the Brahman Selection Indexes.
The ability to confidently apply selection pressure and increase the frequency of the polled trait in tropical breeds has positive implications for animal welfare, productivity, labour requirements and safety of station staff. The frequency of the polled gene in Brahman cattle is generally low compared to some other breeds.
When we started Beef CRC 3, the prevailing wisdom at the time was that a handful of genes would explain the variation in the traits of interest to producers, such as meat quality, food conversion efficiency and fertility.
A six-month industry validation trial of a new poll gene genetic marker developed to identify the genetic traits of polledness and horns in Australian cattle breeds has shown an 89 percent success rate in Brahmans.
Profitable beef businesses of the future will be those that have already started some years earlier to improve the inherent fertility of their herd through monitoring performance, identifying problem areas and making sound management decisions.
Improved female reproductive performance of beef herds in Northern Australia is an important means of increasing profitability.
Today's beef producers face many different management challenges including increased herd sizes and larger cattle which impact on herd health particularly leg and feet structure and lameness.
Calving difficulties (dystocia) cause major economic losses to beef enterprises through cow and calf mortalities, increased labour and veterinary costs and reduced cow production (reproduction and milk).
A new DNA test to identify polled Bos Indicus cattle was launched at the Royal Brisbane Show in August.
The Tropical Beef Technology Services (TBTS) and Southern Beef Technology Services (SBTS) team recently completed a national workshop series titled “Know Your Gene – An update on DNA technology for the Seedstock producer”.
The profitability of a business is highly dependant on efficient reproductive performance and the capacity of fertile bulls to successfully service cows for several seasons.
The key economic objective of most beef enterprises is to improve the profitability of the business (ie maximise returns over costs) through the use of superior genetics and efficient management. Studies show that a major way to increase profits is to improve the genetic merit of the herd through the selection and introduction of economically relevant traits (ERT’s).
One of the keys to financial success in business is minimizing costs while maximizing returns for your product or service. The business of Beef production, of course, is no different but it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, let alone increase, profits with ever increasing input costs and very variable beef prices. It is, therefore, increasingly important that anything e.g tool, product or service, that is available to help the beef producer to improve the efficiency of production is explored, evaluated and implemented into the production system when it is cost effective to do so.
This project, also known as the Epigenetics Project, lead by the DPI&F, studies the deviation from traditional Mendelian inheritance patterns in beef cattle.
Throughout the history of breeding cattle, beef producers have successfully improved the quality of cattle and increased the profitability of their business through selection and genetic improvement. Genetics, however, is a extremely complex and evolving subject Nevertheless, studies have shown that the application of basic genetic principles can have a major impact on the quality of the herd and the productivity of the beef enterprise.
The “SmartGene for Beef” project is providing valuable information to further develop genetic evaluation in the Australian beef industry, provide new EBVs and increase the accuracy of some existing BREEDPLAN EBVs.
DNA technologies are beginning to change the way breeding animals are genetically selected and might soon determine how production animals are managed to better meet specific market requirements.
Of all the inherited characteristics in cattle, only a few are controlled by a single gene sequence, for example, some diseases such as Pompe’s disease, and simple traits such as horn/poll. The expression of single-gene traits is independent of environment.
While some beef producers are still unsure if EBVs can describe performance differences between animals, members of the North West Qld Branch of Beef Improvement Association have been left with no doubt in the value of EBVs for bull selection.
Selection is the primary tool available for changing the expression and potential of Brahmans. Fortunately, a better appreciation of genetic principles and genetic variation has lead to increased breeding opportunities.
Recording the date of birth, mothering up calves, weighing, measuring scrotal circumference & ultrasound scanning as all those who undertake it know; takes considerable time & effort. In regards to genetic evaluation you hope that this information is contributing to give a more accurate estimation of the animal’s genetic merit. A common mistake however is that once the physical work is done performance is submitted without due care to comparison groups, otherwise know as contemporary groups.
The identification of four DNA markers for feed efficiency has the potential to save the beef industry millions of dollars in feed costs over time by enabling the selection and breeding of animals that eat less without sacrificing growth performance.
One of the many outcomes from the Beef Cooperative Research Centre (Beef CRC) has been the emergence of a simple objective measurement for cattle temperament, known as Flight Time. Flight Time has been proven to have a significant genetic relationship with meat tenderness & feedlot performance. This means that breeders can successfully use Flight Time to identify superior genetics for these traits.
CSIRO Livestock Industries scientist Dr Kishore Prayaga has uncovered the technical and practical problems to breeding polled cattle and identified ways to increase the amount of polled animals in typical Australian herds.
More than fifty Brahman bulls sourced from some of Australia’s leading seedstock producers as well as overseas have been evaluated as part of a large research project to help pinpoint the best ways of breeding productive and profitable progeny in northern Australian environments.
New technologies have advanced the Beef CRC’s discovery of new gene markers from a trickle to a flood - and that introduces a whole new set of questions for researchers.
By 2010 the Beef CRC anticipates cattle breeders may be able to get an accurate assessment of a bull or a dam’s future performance within a few months of its birth.
The udder of a beef cow is an extremely important physical asset which impacts on the economic, production and labour efficiency of the breeding unit.
When I asked a group of northern cattleman recently why they don’t use Australia’s National Beef Cattle Genetic Evaluation System BREEDPLAN in their stud operations, the answer was that “BREEDPLAN just breeds bigger cattle and we don’t want them any bigger”.