AWA announces Progeny Test Program

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.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

  1. Generate comprehensive progeny test data on approximately 250 emerging Wagyu bulls.
  2. Capture data on approximately 3,500 female progeny for new and hard to measure traits including female fertility and maternal performance.
  3. Capture data on approximately 3,500 steer progeny for feed efficiency and structure as well as new carcase and eating quality traits.
  4. 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.
  5. Improve outcomes of breeding decisions and increase rate of genetic gain within the Wagyu breed.
  6. 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.

More information is available here or you can contact Laura Penrose, AWA Genetic Projects Manager, laura@wagyu.org.au, ph 02 8880 7700.

The AWA will also be at Beef2021 in the Durack Pavilion, please drop in and speak with Laura to learn more.

Important Notice and Disclaimer


It is very important that you appreciate when viewing the AWA database that the information contained on the AWA database, including but not limited to pedigree, DNA information, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and Index values, is based on data supplied by members and/or third parties.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information reported through AWA, AWA officers and employees assume no responsibility for its content, use or interpretation. AWA disclaims all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you may incur as a result of the use by you of the data on this AWA database and the information supplied by ABRI and AGBU being inaccurate or incomplete in any way for any reason.

Regarding EBVs and Index values, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • EBVs are derived using Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN technology developed independently by the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), using the information contained within the AWA database.
  • AGBU is a joint venture of NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of New England, which receives funding for this purpose from Meat and Livestock Australia Limited.
  • AWA relies solely on advice provided by AGBU and ABRI in accepting Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN software.
  • EBVs published in Wagyu Single Step BREEDPLAN are estimates of genetic potential of individual animals and may not reflect the raw animal phenotype.
  • EBVs can only be directly compared to other EBVs calculated in the same monthly Wagyu Group BREEDPLAN analysis.

Regarding pedigree and DNA testing results submitted to the AWA, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • Pedigree and DNA data submitted and supplied to AWA may have errors in it which cannot be detected without further DNA testing.
  • Technology may have advanced since a particular test was undertaken so that previous inaccuracies which were not detectable are now able to be detected by current testing technology.
  • AWA estimates that less than 1% of the pedigree entries, ownership or breeding details in the AWA Herdbook may have errors or which may be misleading. For this reason, users ought to consider if they need to obtain independent testing of the relevant animal (if possible) to ensure that the data is accurate.

Regarding prefectural content, it is very important to appreciate, and you need to be aware that:

  • Prefectural content is based on the estimation of prefectural origin from Japanese breeding records of 201 foundation sires and 168 foundation dams.  As genotype-based parent verification is not used in Japan, and full Japanese registration certificates are not available for all foundation animals, exact prefectural composition for these sires and dams cannot be validated.
  • The calculation of prefectural content for Australian Herdbook animals relies on the accuracy of pedigree records and DNA samples provided by AWA members.
  • The reporting of prefectural content for animals within the AWA Herdbook relies on the calculation provided by ABRI.

If you consider that you do not understand or appreciate the nature and extent of the data provided on this website or the EBVs of a particular animal, then AWA strongly recommends that you seek independent expert advice.