Wagyu Collaborative Genetic Research Project

Genetic analysis of the Wagyu breed is vital to identify the high performing sires and dams, select the most appropriate combinations for mating to optimise performance while minimising inbreeding; and determining the overall rate of genetic improvement in the breed.

Wagyu Group BREEDPLAN provides the genetic analysis for the Wagyu breed.  Breeding animals and commercial slaughter animals at both Fullblood and Crossbred Wagyu level may be included in the analysis.  Animals must first be registered with AWA, then their performance data added as it becomes available as the animals progresses through the Wagyu supply chain.  Historic data may be added to “jump-start” a herd’s analysis.

A registered animal’s performance data provides the critical information, combined with the pedigree, to predict the animal’s breeding capacity in terms of the traits needed for effective productivity throughout the entire Wagyu supply chain.  These traits include:

  • Fertility – to be able to reproduce
  • Calving Ease – to produce a live calf
  • Maternal ability – for the dam to feed the calf with her own milk and mother the calf effectively
  • Growth – to ensure kilograms of beef – the actual saleable product
  • Carcass – for meat eating quality heavily determined by marbling or intra muscular fat, surface fat (or subcutaneous fat), carcase weight a rib eye area (size of the rib eye muscle, the most valuable beef cut and a strong indicator of whole of body muscling).  Fineness of marbling is also important for highest quality Wagyu beef.

Members requiring to use Wagyu BREEDPLAN must enrol for this service through completion of the BREEDPLAN Enrolment Form available here and mailed as instructed on the form. All BREEDPLAN enrolment and performance data input costs are included in the annual AWA Full Membership Subscription and animal registration fees.

The first piece of performance information input is the calf Birth Weight at time of registration and is non-mandatory.

Additional performance information is progressively added throughout the life of the animal including:

  • 200 and 400 (and perhaps 600 if the animals stays on the farm) day weights – from the commercial breeder
  • Ultrasonic scan carcass data – Eye Muscle Area, Rib Fat, Rump Fat depth, % Intra Muscular Fat – from the commercial breeder
  • 600 and 900 day weights – from feedlot entry and exit weights, arranged by the breeder
  • Carcass data – AUS-MEAT Carcass Weight, Rib Eye Area (or EMA), Marble Score – from the abattoir or processor, arranged by the breeder
  • Digital Camera Image Analysis – Marbling Percent, Rib Eye Area, Fineness of Marbling Index – arranged by the breeder through AWA.

Wagyu BREEDPLAN combines the pedigree and performance data of all animals owned by members enrolled in Wagyu BREEDPLAN monthly to produce Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) which benchmarks each trait recorded for the animal against the breed average for that trait.  Using the EBVs enables breeders to assess how well their animals rank against others (eg. In the top 10% of the breed).  They play a critical role in assisting to select other animals for inclusion in the herd, such as when purchasing semen from sires or embryos from a sire/dam mating.  Having EBVs on breeding animals in a Wagyu herd also enable the use of the MateSel software for intelligent mating decisions which optimise productivity while minimising inbreeding.

For further information contact: