The 2021-2031 Australian Wagyu Association Progeny Test Program (AWA-PTP) has kicked off, with the recent acceptance of the 2021 intake of semen sires and contributor herds by the industry advisory, AWA-PTP Consultative Committee.
The AWA-PTP is the largest Japanese Black progeny test program outside of Japan and represents a unique genetic reference population and sire benchmarking project. The AWA-PTP was developed by AWA to benefit the entire Wagyu Sector by developing new Wagyu traits and proving 250 new Wagyu sires across industry.
To kick off year one of the program, the AWA is pleased to announce acceptance of 39 sires nominated from Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom and the USA in the 2021 AWA-PTP sire intake. Eight herds, spanning NSW, QLD and WA were also accepted in the 2021 contributor herd intake, totalling 2,088 breeding females.
The official launch of the AWA-PTP was at the April 2021 WagyuEdge Conference on the Gold Coast, where more than 450 attendees saw the program release by AWA CEO Dr Matt McDonagh and Genetic Projects Manager Laura Penrose, encouraging the entire membership to participate in the program.
The program is open to all AWA members to be involved. The AWA has a global Wagyu genetic evaluation, with 550 Australian and 200 international members from more than 20 countries who register Fullblood Wagyu cattle with the AWA. The AWA-PTP will create better linkage of the global Wagyu herd to AWAs core reference population for world-wide genetic benchmarking.
Dr McDonagh said “through the performance recording efforts of our members across the Wagyu Sector, the current AWA genetic analysis has substantial genomic and performance data. There are currently 262 sires in the AWA genetic analysis with 10 or more carcase progeny records. Some sires have several hundred carcase progeny records.”
“ The AWA-PTP is specifically designed to bring this number to more than 500 sires, by adding another 250 industry sires to this number and linking our current Wagyu Sector data to a core reference population. To create optimal linkage between our existing data and the AWA-PTP, it is highly advantageous to all AWA members, that those who can performance record under their own steam, also participate in the AWA-PTP.”
With a target of 40 sires for year 1 of the program, no sires were excluded from the initial 2021 sire intake. AWA is now looking to include a foundation sire as an additional benchmarking sire within the program. The use of an influential industry sire will set a clear benchmark for the program’s emerging sires to be measured against and will aid in the identification of the Wagyu breed’s next “Super Sire”. With over 530 carcase progeny records, AWA is seeking semen donations from members of the sectors most widely used foundation sire – WKSFM0164 Michifuku.
The program is a 10-year initiative funded solely by the AWA and AWA members. Members who nominate sires to participate in the program pay a sire entry fee as well as provide additional straws of semen for their nominated sires to be sold through tender to the broader AWA membership.
The AWA will hold its Inaugural 2021 AWA-PTP Semen Sale on the 19th of October via AuctionsPlus. Through the annual AWA-PTP Semen Sales, a minimum of 20 semen packages will be available via tender, for the Wagyu Sector to access the next generation of industry leading genetics and link their herds to the AWA-PTP reference population. Successful tenderers will be able to create their own tailored packages to consist of 10 straws from their selection of 20 different 2021 nominated sires that will be proven through the AWA-PTP.
Through the 2021 AWA-PTP Semen Sale, the Wagyu Sector can access leading Wagyu genetics that are 100% linked to the AWA reference population. All funds generated through sire nominations and the 2021 AWA-PTP Semen Sale will be used to fund the program, covering performance recording of all current Wagyu traits and development of vital new female reproduction, feedlot performance, meat and carcase quality traits for Japanese Black Wagyu cattle.
“The AWA-PTP will provide value to the whole of the AWA membership by testing up the maximum number of new sires and developing a broader reference population on which the AWA global genetic analysis is conducted. This will also provide better genetic linkage between herds who already have been performance recording, by the sharing of genetics through the 2021 AWA-PTP Semen Sale, and having those genetics tested in other herds. ” – Dr Matt McDonagh, AWA CEO
The AWA Board and the AWA-PTP Consultative Committee thank the entire Wagyu Sector for their support of the AWA 2021-2031 Progeny Test Program.