Genetics Technology Field Day – What Did We Learn?

Genetics Technology Field Day – What Did We Learn?

We firmly believe that it’s critical for the success of Rockley Brahmans that Chris and I remain up-to-date and informed about research and learning in our industry. Importantly, our ongoing education also benefits our clients. At a recent field day, we learned more about the use of genetics technology across breeds. Here’s a summary of take-home messagesplans for implementation and expected benefits for our clients.

Lisgar Station Field Day:
‘Putting genetics technology into practice, research update and producer application’

Chris and I thoroughly enjoyed a genetics technology [1] field day at Lisgar Station (Gumlu, south of Home Hill, Queensland), where we were kindly hosted by Robert and Donna Rea. Robert and Donna own and manage Lisgar, a highly productive breeding, fattening and bull breeding Droughtmaster operation. The field day was an opportunity to discuss the improvement of herd performance through the use of genetics technologies and practices that apply across breeds. We also looked at results from the research and paddock trials across Queensland.

Take-Home 1: Find balance across priority traits

Corroborating my article on the importance of a balance approach to breeding, the Lisgar herd clearly demonstrates that it’s possible to achieve both impressive looks and performance. Also confirming our practice at Rockley, it was very satisfying to hear first-hand that there is high demand for bulls with BREEDPLAN figures.

We will consider the use of EBV percentiles – discussed at Lisgar – in order to balance desirable (or priority) traits, for example to select a low carcase weight cow to join with a high carcase weight bull. At Rockley, scrotal size (SS) and days to calving (DTC) are high on our priority list for our sires.

Field day participants were reminded of the importance of staying true to our goals as breeders; at Rockley, it’s common practice for us to cull poor performers and animals that don’t meet the standards of our 7 elite breeding attributes. As a result, we consistently offer customers an elite premium product.

Take-Home 2: Genomics

We will continue to use genomics as a tool to identify genetic potential in young heifers selected as donor females. In current circumstances, where we have a new young herd at our disposal, we are using donor heifers that are somewhat unproven. In time this will change, and we will only select proven breeders that have had three or more consecutive calves naturally. The Brahman breed has the distinct advantage of being the first beef breed in the world to utilise genomic single step EBV’s across all BREEDPLAN traits. We plan to make the most of this on our customers’ behalf.

Chris and I would like to say ‘thank you’ once again to the hosts of this field day. It is always enjoyable to catch up with industry colleagues, especially when this involves opportunities to learn and then to review and improve our own practices. This helps us to gain further expertise and depth as a business, and enables us to continue to provide the best possible product for our customers.

Other field day topics: property overview & project update; pregnancy ultrasound scan traits and calf growth traits; genetic relationships, calf growth traits and ultrasound carcase traits; measuring fertility in northern beef herds; practical application – Salisbury Plains (Brangus); grazing land management and yard time – cattle inspection, explanations, putting science into practice, designer breeding.

For further information and to discuss this or other topics, please contact me (Ashley) on 0408 780 810.

Related PostsRepronomics Field Day – Rockley’s Take-Home Messages

References: [1] ‘Major genetics field day takes science into the paddock’, North Queensland Register, 8 March 2017

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