The Australian Wagyu Association will announce a new 10-year Progeny Test Program (AWA-PTP), set to commence later this month and run from 2021 – 2031. The AWA_PTP will be a major announcement on Day 1 of the WagyuEdge Annual Conference to be held at the Gold Coast 27-29 Aprl 2021.
Over the past five years, the Association has seen a significant increase in animal registrations and submission of performance data and genotypes for genetic analysis with Wagyu BREEDPLAN. The AWA now holds more than 100,000 genomic profiles on Wagyu cattle and estimates that half of the active registered animals now have genomic-assisted Single-Step Wagyu Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs).
The AWA is the third largest breed registry by numbers of primary registrations per year. The AWA estimates that 80% of calves registered in the last three years have genomic DNA profiles. With more than 13,000 registered sires and 120,000 registered females, the AWA is now turning its attention to proving up the next generation of Wagyu sires.
The aim of the Progeny Test Program is to consolidate the substantial breed progress to date and add further value to this data by testing progeny to validate high-value emerging Wagyu sires.
Whilst the AWA-PTP represents the first formally structured progeny test program for the Wagyu breed in Australia, progeny test programs have proven to be key in the advancement of the Australian beef industry’s genetic improvement for the past 30 years.
Through establishing a formalised progeny test program, AWA aims to increase the accuracy of existing high-value Wagyu Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) as well as develop new Wagyu-specific traits for reproduction, structure, carcase and eating quality. The AWA-PTP will also help to identify genetically superior sires that will have a strong influence on the future direction of the Wagyu breed.
- Generate comprehensive progeny test data on approximately 250 emerging Wagyu bulls.
- Capture data on approximately 3,500 female progeny for new and hard to measure traits including female fertility and maternal performance.
- Capture data on approximately 3,500 steer progeny for feed efficiency and structure as well as new carcase and eating quality traits.
- Produce high-accuracy EBVs for Project Sires and Contributor Cow Herds and benefit the rest of the Wagyu population through genetic linkage and the use of genomic analysis.
- Improve outcomes of breeding decisions and increase rate of genetic gain within the Wagyu breed.
- Expand the diversity and size of the reference population for the Wagyu breed, leveraging the AWA genomic, pedigree and performance data to enable the validation and refinement of Wagyu BREEDPLAN and Selection Indexes.
Operating for 10 years between 2021 and 2031, the AWA-PTP will join approximately 40 Fullblood Wagyu sires per year to more than 2,000 Wagyu females over seven breeding cycles using fixed time artificial insemination (FTAI) as recommended by AWA Assisted Reproduction Partners Vetoquinol’s Repro360 team. These females will be located across multiple Contributor Herds, spanning a range of Australian production environments. Contributor Herds will be supported by AWA-PTP Animal Health Partner Zoetis, to ensure best practice management of herd health treatments.
The formal launch of the Australian Wagyu Association Progeny Test Program will take place on Day 1 of the 2021 WagyuEdge annual conference, presented by the Association’s CEO, Dr Matt McDonagh, and the recently appointed program manager, Laura Penrose.
Dr McDonagh said “The 2021-2031 AWA Progeny Test Program is the AWA’s investment back into the Wagyu Sector to underpin the continuous genetic improvement of Japanese Black Wagyu cattle. The Australian industry is globally linked, with AWA members from more than 20 countries that can contribute sires to the program. This will allow us to compare and test the full range of diversity in Wagyu genetics from around the world.”
The AWA-PTP is supported by its members and Artificial Breeding Partner, Vetoquinol Australia and Animal Health Partner, Zoetis.
The AWA will also be at Beef2021 in the Durack Pavilion, please drop in and speak with Laura to learn more.