The AWA Progeny Test Program (AWA-PTP) will further advance the highly successful Wagyu BREEDPLAN genetic analysis by testing progeny from the maximum number of emerging industry sires for high-value traits. The program aims to generate comprehensive progeny test data on approximately 250 emerging Wagyu bulls. In addition, it will also capture data on thousands of heifer progeny for hard-to-measure traits such as fertility and maternal performance and thousands of steer progeny for feed efficiency, carcase, and eating quality traits.
The program will create high-accuracy EBVs for project sires and cows and benefit all members through genetic linkage and genomic analysis. For example, the EBV accuracy of a bull that has undergone progeny testing can improve from 50% accuracy to 90% accuracy resulting in improved breeding decisions and rate of genetic improvement in the Wagyu breed across all herds.
Ryan Carter from ACC Beef says “we were interested to compare how our sires performed outside our own programs and to contrast our joining outcomes with Matesel recommendations. Being involved can only help to validate the accuracies of current and future estimated breeding values. We strongly encourage seedstock marketers to become involved and stand by their products. All available assistance should be provided to ensure no potential stars slip through the cracks”.
On the 28 June this year the first calf was born from Cohort 1. Since then a further 806 of the 947 calves expected in Cohort 1 have been born, of which 422 are males, and 384 are females. Progress is underway in Cohort 2 also with 315 cows having been artificially inseminated. By May next year (2023), it’s expected that approximately two thousand cows will be joined. All progeny will be genomically SNP tested and comprehensively performance recorded to support whole-of-life progeny performance evaluation. The data will be used in Wagyu BREEDPLAN to produce and improve Wagyu breeding values.
Progeny test programs are the best approach to achieving genetic gain in any breed. AWA members are urged to become involved in the program and nominate their sires to enhance Wagyu genetics further. Any Australian or international-based AWA member can nominate sires for the AWA-PTP, giving you the opportunity to have the next generation of sires proven through the program for current and new traits. There is also the opportunity for cow herds to be benchmarked, with a minimum of 150 second-calf females to be submitted. Paul Harris from Sunland Cattle Company said “we are happy to contribute to the betterment of the breed and would like to compare our cattle to the AWA standards and other people’s cattle”.