The rain couldn’t keep Angus producers and industry representatives away on Wednesday November 28th, 2018 with Angus Australia hosting the Angus Research Update and ASBP Cohort 7 Steer Viewing Day at Tullimba Research Feedlot, Kingstown NSW.
The event hosted over 80 people, and featured presentations from Angus Australia Strategic Projects Manager Christian Duff, NSW DPI Development Officer for Extensive Livestock Jason Siddell, and University of New England Senior Lecturer of Meat Science Peter McGilchrist.
Attendees were also able to view over 200 steers from Cohort 7 of the Angus Sire Benchmarking Program (ASBP) with progeny identified to their sire, first hand.
The day kicked off with Christian Duff addressing attendees on the latest outcomes of the ASBP.
Mr Duff gave a comprehensive overview into the reach of the ASBP, with over 4,000 steers to be phenotyped comprehensively from birth to slaughter from Cohorts 1 to 8 of the program. This involves 299 sires which have over 82,000 progeny registered in Angus Australia members herds.
Mr Duff touched on the ongoing Immune Competence testing collaborative project with CSIRO and it’s aims, which has tested approximately 3150 Angus animals so far.
Also discussed was the Retail Beef Yield collaborative project with NSW DPI and it’s aims to collect approximately 1000 RBY full bone out phenotypes, to be completed by the end of 2020.
Following this Dr Peter McGilchrist hosted an informative presentation regarding ‘what drives the value in an Angus carcass?’.
Dr McGilchrist highlighted outcomes from beef quality and quantity focussed research, some involving ASBP cattle. The outline of his presentation was to define value, the antagonisms between quality and yield, measurement of yield, measurement of quality, the carcase of the future and his personal conclusions and dreams.
“Breeding profitable cattle comes down to two things, the packet of genes suitable for your farm and the animals suitable for market,” he said.
“The value of a carcass is the quantity of saleable meat by the quality of that meat. The value relationship between eating quality and yield is approximately 50/50.”
Dr McGilchrist identified that one of the key drivers of beef quality is intramuscular fat, which is highly related to marbling score. It is important to understand that if you increase growth, muscle and yield without increasing intramuscular fat, the IMF percentage in the meat will go down and decrease the overall marbling and eating experience.
Dr McGilchrist touched on his conclusions from the findings and dreams for the future.
“In order to breed genetically high-valued carcasses the industry needs to focus on breeding higher yielding and higher eating quality animals, including focus on intramuscular fat. This will be assisted by more objective grading systems and feedback mechanisms using technologies being tested through the federally funded collaborative ALMTech project.”
Following the presentations, Jason Siddell hosted an informative muscle scoring on Angus steers. All ASBP steers and heifers are muscle scored as standard procedure.
David Murray, owner of Kilburnie Angus, Walcha NSW and bull owner representative for the ASBP Consultative Committee, was in attendance at the event and spoke of the benefits of hearing the informative presentations of the day.
“The talk about using genetics to achieve beef quality was one of the most valuable messages. Beef quality is going to drive the market for Angus cattle for the next 50 years, and we have to breed to get there and we have to use genetics to do it.”
When asked why he would encourage other breeders to attend such educational events as the ASBP Open Day, Mr Murray said, “If you don’t know what’s going on you’re going to fall behind, end of story.”
Angus Australia member and bull owner representative on the ASBP Consultative Committee, Brad Cavanagh, Hardhat Angus, Harden NSW spoke of the importance of the ASBP and its benefits to the Angus breed as a whole.
“The ASBP is really providing a great reference population that is fully genotyped and phenotyped, from which we can overlap a lot of cutting edge research and development. Once you’ve got the reference population with the full genotype and phenotype data set any kind R & D project can be adapted because there is so much data recorded into it. “
“There’s no hiding in the ASBP, all the information is real, the hard to measured traits are observed. The ASBP gives its members a real-world analysis of what genetics are being used.”
“This field day allows you to see cattle that simulate an industry type situation, as all the performance data been recorded on these cattle to give a genetic evaluation with higher accuracies.”
Mandy Wales of Alloura Angus, Yass NSW attests to the breeder standpoint of having sires in the program, and the benefits that this has for producers.
“For us it’s been incredible to have some of the progeny of our bulls to be accessed and analysed on a huge range of different traits, including some of those harder to measure traits, like net feed efficiency,” she said
“Also, for the full evaluation of carcass data and for those progeny to be compared against some of the best in the breed.”
The ASBP is a major R&D initiative of Angus Australia with support from MLA and industry partners with the objectives to generate progeny test data on modern Angus bulls, particularly for hard to measure traits as feed efficiency, abattoir carcase measurement, meat quality attributes and female reproduction; to generate data for the validation and refinement of Angus TACE; and to build a comprehensive phenotype and genotype database on Australian Angus for genomic technology validation, research and development.