The return on investment achieved when investing in new genomic selection tools for commercial heifers was discussed in a presentation delivered at the Angus CONNECT Research and Development Update – Autumn 2021.
The presentation, delivered by Zoetis Animal Genetics’ Genetics key account manager, Lachlan Ayoub, discussed the Angus HeiferSELECT selection tool that is offered by Angus Australia, in association with partners Zoetis Animal Genetics and Neogen Australasia.
Angus HeiferSELECT is a genomic tool available for commercial Angus females and provides genetic predictions for nine important maternal, growth and carcase traits as well as an index, in the form of the Total breeding index, and a star rating.
As part of the Autumn 2021 Angus CONNECT Research and Development Update, Mr Ayoub presented on the outcomes of a recent case study exploring the return on investment of Angus HeiferSELECT. Retailing at approximately $40 inc. GST per heifer Mr Ayoub highlighted that ‘a question that has often been asked by customers and commercial producers interested is, what is the potential return on investment?’.
The case study herd examined had been utilising Angus HeiferSELECT over 5 year drops of calves, since 2015, as part of a program producing both purebred Angus and Terminal Wagyu F1’s.
The case study focused on the benefits obtained in the herd from identifying the bottom performing animals and culling them from the breeding herd. Animals were assessed with the Total Breeding Value (TBV) which is an index incorporating the nine traits calculated as part of Angus HeiferSELECT with appropriate weightings assigned to reflect their relative importance. For the purpose of the study a single TBV point was assigned a dollar value of $1.44 to model the return on investment.
The study assumed 60% of heifers would be retained with the bottom 40%, identified based on Angus HeiferSELECT, sold. The herd was also assumed to have an average 88% year on year weaning rate with a 10-year maximum cow life.
In the case study, a total of 756 heifers were tested as part of the ‘2019 born’ heifers representing an initial ex GST investment of $29,312.18.
The case study forecasted a potential total return of $63,029.19, over the 10 years, from the better genetics of the ‘2019’ selected group delivering a higher return through superior genetics.
Mr Ayoub concluded his presentation by stating that the results of the case study demonstrate that ‘Angus HeiferSELECT is an effective tool available to commercial producers to make objective genetic decisions on impossible to measure commercially important traits, with Angus HeiferSELECT delivering significant financial return over the lifespan of each heifer tested’.
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