October 1, 2023


Elegant Food

Weekly genetics assessment: Know the distinction between scan knowledge and EBVs as choice instruments

5 min read

SINCE the mid Nineteen Nineties when ultrasound knowledge turned extra generally obtainable, the variety of animals scanned and offered with knowledge at gross sales, exhibits and different events has turn out to be immense.

Within the Angus Breed alone, a current paper printed within the American Society of Animal Science recognized greater than 640,000 animals as being scanned and recorded within the Angus Australia Database.

Doubtless, scanning for the manufacturing traits of eye muscle space, subcutaneous fatness and marbling have vastly improved the power of producers to establish and choose superior genetics. Using educated and accredited scanners to report and enter knowledge into packages comparable to BreedPlan has been an important a part of the continuing enchancment in accuracy of genetic info for animals in most breeds.

Nonetheless, it’s equally necessary to do not forget that ultrasound scanning knowledge must be thought-about and understood inside context. As uncooked knowledge collected crush-side, the data obtainable solely exhibits how animals which can be measured at them identical time, from a recent group have carried out in opposition to one another.

Whereas that knowledge might look spectacular, it’s not doable to check the information collected in opposition to the breed common and even in opposition to different teams of animals run in a special atmosphere inside one property.

It’s all the time necessary to remember that the phenotype of an animal – its bodily look – is a direct operate of its genetic potential and the affect of its atmosphere. How an animal seems might not all the time precisely replicate the genetic potential of its progeny.

Uncooked knowledge, both by scanning or just weighing, is the gathering of the present phenotype of the animal. Till that knowledge is used as a part of a broader evaluation, then its use is restricted to a comparability of comparable animals at that location and at the moment.

Carcase competitors expertise

Following a current carcase competitors, the dangers of making an attempt to make use of uncooked scan knowledge as a prediction of progeny efficiency was highlighted to a gaggle of Queensland cattle producers. The animals in query had been bred by a bull that was listed within the sale catalogue as having the most important EMA within the draft. Nonetheless his progeny once they have been finally completed and despatched into the competitors have been discovered to be among the many group with the smallest EMAs within the competitors.

Whereas these are comprehensible reactions, they’re incorrect on each accounts, and spotlight the actual fact many producers confuse uncooked knowledge with an EBV

The just about fast reactions have been firstly that in some way the carcase knowledge needed to be unsuitable, because the animals have been sired by an animal with a big EMA. The shut second response was to counsel the scan was unsuitable and inaccurate.

Whereas these are comprehensible reactions, they’re incorrect on each accounts, and spotlight the actual fact many producers confuse uncooked knowledge with an EBV.

It might properly have been appropriate that the bull which sired these animals did have the most important EMA when scanned. Nonetheless, all that scan knowledge exhibits are the results of the interplay of that bull’s genetics and atmosphere. The scan knowledge doesn’t actually permit for any insights into the genetic potential that bull needed to change the EMA of any progeny.

A lot relies upon not solely on the genetics of the sire, but in addition on the genetics of the cows that bull was then joined to. It may be doable {that a} uncooked measurement often is the largest in a gaggle, however throughout a breed, when analysed and in contrast in opposition to extra knowledge as a part of a BreedPlan evaluation, that this was a one-off.

And actually the animal could be genetically common for this trait. It’s simply that as a person in that atmosphere, the bull was in a position to specific a bigger EMA than his contemporaries.

The place that bull then suits, both above, on par or under common is the primary half of the equation. As a bull contributes half of a calf’s genetics, the genetics of its dam are additionally a key issue within the eventual carcase consequence. If these cows have been genetically common, and even under common, this has a direct impression on how a lot change a bull can have.

And eventually there may be additionally the impression of the atmosphere these calves have been raised in forward of their entry right into a carcase competitors.

On the time, my message to the breeders and producers is to not begin blaming the scanner or the grader. Fairly the difficulty comes again to what info was used to make that breeding determination.

Utilizing uncooked scans for greater than taking a look at how animals might develop and exhibit traits in a specific atmosphere, will increase the chance for producers to pick the unsuitable animals. Utilizing that knowledge, with out realizing what must be corrected within the breeding herd at house is a good higher danger.

Additionally it is value remembering that carcase competitors knowledge can also be knowledge that’s successfully uncooked knowledge from a single time limit. The outcomes of a single competitors alone shouldn’t be seen because the sign to alter a complete program.

Nonetheless, if the information will be included with different knowledge collected on-farm and from carcase suggestions from industrial gross sales, a development might begin to emerge of the areas the place herds want to enhance. If these traits are to be corrected or improved, a extra dependable indicator is to make use of EBVs which have excessive accuracy. In the long run this course of is more likely to be simpler in reaching the progeny outcomes a program has in thoughts.


Alastair Rayner is the Principal of RaynerAg, an agricultural advisory service primarily based in NSW. RaynerAg is affiliated with BJA Inventory & Station Brokers. He repeatedly lists and promote cattle for purchasers as properly attending bull gross sales to assist consumer purchases. Alastair offers pre-sale alternatives and classifications for seedstock producers in NSW, Qld and Victoria. He will be contacted right here or by his web site www.raynerag.com.au









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