Breeder-Feeder Index

New AWA Selection Index

The Australian Wagyu Association (AWA) has implemented the Wagyu Breeder-Feeder Index (BFI). This is a new, balanced selection index, to assist Wagyu breeders to select the most profitable animals in a self-replacing herd, whilst better managing birth weight, milk production, and mature cow weight.BFI BENEFITSThe Breeder-Feeder Index:

  1. Promotes a high growth response, especially for post-weaning gain/Carcase Weight;
  2. Reduces the number of high ranking extreme high and low Birth Weight EBV sires;
  3. Delivers positive emphasis for Milk and Scrotal Size;
  4. Applies a slight negative emphasis on high Mature Cow Weight while strongly positively emphasising Carcase Weight; whilst also
  5. Providing a high selection response for Marble Score.

AbacusBio Index developmentAs part of continual improvement in AWA’s genetic selection tools, the AWA conducted a survey of genetic service providers in 2022 to identify leading global external expertise to complement AWA’s service delivery and genetic solution provision for members. AbacusBio was chosen as the leading developer of Selection Indexes. Over a 9-month period in 2023, AbacusBio conducted a project for the AWA to develop a new Self Replacing Index that delivers significant improvements over currently available indexes for Wagyu including:

  1. Recognising an intermediate Birth Weight EBV optimum; by penalising low and high birth weights, recognising the economic impact of calving difficulties in high birth weight animals and reduced calf survival in low birth weight animals.
  2. Rewarding positive Milk and penalising negative Milk EBVs; by placing an economic weighting on improved calf survival and early life growth as a result of positive Milk, whilst placing a negative economic weighting on reduced calf survival and poor early life growth as a result of negative Milk.
  3. Rewarding positive Carcase Weight whist maintaining moderate Mature Cow Weight, through recognising the economic cost of maintaining high Mature Cow Weights relative to the economic benefit of high Carcase Weight of progeny.
  4. Placing direct emphasis on the Carcase Weight trait itself as opposed to using traits correlated to Carcase Weight as used in prior Self Replacing Indexes.
  5. Applying positive pressure on Scrotal Size (as the only trait correlated to female fertility) as opposed to negative pressure as per the prior Self Replacing Indexes.

Timing and future Index changesThe AWA will publish the new Breeder-Feeder Index (BFI) alongside its existing Indexes, replacing the current Wagyu Breeder Index. AWA has also contracted AbacusBio to develop new Fullblood Terminal and F1 Terminal Indexes using the same Index model logic used for the Breeder-Feeder Index.  Once the AbacusBio Fullblood Terminal and F1 Terminal Indexes are complete (estimated October 2024), the AWA will only publish the three AbacusBio Indexes and the current Self Replacing Index as follows:

  1. AbacusBio Breeder-Feeder Index (BFI): A self-replacing herd profitability index
  2. AbacusBio Fullblood Terminal Index (FTI): A Terminal Index for Fullblood slaughter animal production
  3. AbacusBio F1 Terminal Index (F1TI): A Terminal Index for F1 slaughter animal production
  4. Breed Object Self Replacing Index (SRI)


Similarity between SRI and BFI

In general terms, animals that rank highly on the prior SRI, also tend to rank highly on the new Breeder-Feeder Index.  An analysis of 374 high-accuracy sires registered with the AWA shows a correlation of 0.78.

This means some re-ranking of animals will occur between the Breeder-Feeder Index and the prior SRI.  Of the top 50 high-accuracy sires ranked on SRI values, 40 of these still rank in the top 50 of the Breeder-Feeder Index.

Significant differences in ranking between the SRI and Breeder Feeder Index result from economic value changes in animals that have extreme Birth Weight, Milk, and Mature Cow Weight EBVs.

Download our FACT SHEET (PDF)  for more information

BFI launch and and information webinar

The Breeder-Feeder Index is now displayed as the fourth Selection Index in the Indexes area on the web, replacing the Wagyu Breeder Index.  It was published on Monday 26 February 2024.

Hosted by Australian Wagyu Association and AbacusBio, a webinar with all the information was held on Thursday 29 February 2024 at 1pm (AEDT).

Watch it below or via this link WATCH NOW

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.