We always aim to exceed our clients’ expectations. BREEDPLAN is just one of the processes, tools and technologies we use to produce elite Red Brahman bulls and females for stud and commercial producers who are seeking more profitable, high-performance cattle.
What is BREEDPLAN?
BREEDPLAN is a genetic evaluation system for beef cattle and is used by all breeds in this country. Developed in Australia and available under licence in other countries, BREEDPLAN calculates Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for key production traits including weight, carcase, fertility, growth, eating quality and so on. These calculations consider the performance of an animal and its relatives, the heritability of individual traits and the relationship among different traits.
How BREEDPLAN benefits our clients
They say that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. So while visual appraisal will continue to play an integral role in our operation when it comes to assessing the quality of our animals, BREEDPLAN allows us to add another dimension. And this has real benefits for our clients.
- Using EBVs allows us to set objective breeding targets for specific traits.
- We can measure our progress towards them with greater confidence.
- With clear goals and reviews to guide us, our processes become more efficient.
- This all means we can respond directly, more quickly and more accurately to our clients’ feedback.
BREEDPLAN is increasingly used overseas, something I noticed when I attended the 2014 World Congress in South Africa. I want Rockley cattle to become known all over the world. When we sell semen on the international market, it will be very important to be able to provide BREEDPLAN figures.
In our breeding operation, we plan to continue to source genetic material from the international and domestic market. Using EBVs will help us select animals with superior breeding which we can then pass on to our clients.
In recent years, I’ve felt a definite shift in people’s perceptions about Brahmans and an increase in their understanding about the breed. EBV data is helpful for our increasingly discerning clients. We welcome and respect growing knowledge about Brahmans, and we plan to be able to provide BREEDPLAN information before we are asked for it. I know that industry experts are recommending that buyers select bulls with EBVs.
BREEDPLAN and Rockley – the future
The Rockley approach has always been innovative and our use of BREEDPLAN is a further example of this. BREEDPLAN EBVs correspond with several of the 7 elite breeding attributes we have been focusing on for decades. We currently record 200, 400 and 600-day weights, which reflect the attributes do-ability and length & width. We also record scrotal size, which reflects fertility among our breeding attributes. Increased scrotal circumference is related to earlier age at puberty, enhanced semen production and improved semen quality. Female fertility has a positive relationship with increased scrotal circumference, both in terms of earlier age at puberty, earlier return to oestrous and fewer days to calving.
When selecting new sires we are starting to look for bulls with BREEDPLAN figures and this may become a requirement in the future.
We’re following the ABBA’s important work with the Beef Information Nucleus (BIN) Project. This is delivering more accurate and extensive EBV data that will allow producers to further improve animal selection.
Another interesting development is genomics. While genetics focuses on the function and composition of a single gene, genomics takes this a step further and focuses on relationships among genes. The aim is to identify the influence of specific combinations of genes on an animal’s growth and development. At Rockley, we’re excited about what BREEDPLAN, EBVs, genetics and genomics are bringing to our industry …
For further information, please contact Ashley on 0408 780 810 or Chris on (07) 4934 6317.