Sharing genetic information along the supply chain – an industry priority

Sharing genetic information along the supply chain – an industry priority

I estimate that the losses in the beef value chain by not being able to directly link consumer requirements to bull breeders is about $5.5 million per year.”1 Dr Alex Ball, Managing Director, Rural Analytics

The Livestock Breeding and Genetics Forum held by the MLA in Brisbane earlier this year raised some important issues about improving genetics information within the supply chain in the beef industry. We in the beef sector have a huge opportunity to excel and Rockley intends to be a part of it.

As a seedstock and commercial producer, I make it a priority to keep abreast of the challenges and opportunities within the beef industry. As one of over 350 producers, researchers and industry service providers attending the MLA Forum, I came away feeling inspired.

We have an opportunity to help bridge the current gap in genetics information between genetics researchers at one end of the supply chain and consumers at the other. At present, once a bull is sold and joins a commercial or even a stud herd, no more genetics data is recorded about the bull or its progeny.

How sharing genetic information along the supply chain can benefit the industry:

#1 A win-win situation
If commercial producers did measure and evaluate the genetics of the bulls they bought, as well as that of their progeny, the whole supply chain would benefit. A national livestock data platform is currently being developed by the National Livestock Genetics Consortium to hold and easily share this type of genetic information.

#2 Efficiencies for stud producers
Stud producers (like Rockley) would benefit greatly from genetics information collected by commercial producers, which would inform our breeding decisions. By being able to predict the outcomes of an animal’s genetic makeup sooner, the faster the genetic gains will be along the value chain,  for the industry as a whole as well as the end customer.

#3 Buying decisions for commercial producers
Commercial producers (including Rockley customers) would benefit from measuring and benchmarking their own genetic gain, which will ultimately help them make better buying decisions.

#4 Improved consumer choice
Customers would also benefit by having more specific information about their preferred meat (cut, breed, backgrounding and feedlot locations etc). It is expected that increased choice for customers, including requesting and receiving meat with exactly the characteristics they demand, may increase sales.

Rockley’s investment in BREEDPLAN and phenotype collection offers clear benefits for the whole supply chain – for us, our customers, and all the way along the supply chain to consumers. In the future we expect to add genomics as a management tool so animal selection decisions can be made even earlier. This will give us faster genetic gain which we can pass along the supply chain.

At Rockley Brahmans, we are committed to transparency and provide our customers with as much breeding data as we can about our animals.

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For more information, please call me (Ashley) on 0408 780 810.

1. Weekly genetics review: Virtual Red Meat Hub is essential

By Genetics editor Alex McDonald, 27 February 2018
There was extensive discussion around the need for a national livestock data platform during last week’s MLA genetics forum in Brisbane, genetics editor Alex McDonald reports.

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