The Stabiliser Cattle Company (SCC) has confirmed that, in future, all animals sold at official sales will have their Genomic Enhanced Estimated Breeding Values (GEBVs) made available to buyers.

Ireland will be included within the geographic remit of this development.

“Genomic technology is a game changer for the beef industry, allowing producers to make data-backed decisions early on in an animal’s life for faster genetic development,” explained Seth Wareing, SCC business manager.

“This is not only extremely beneficial for pedigree producers making breeding decisions within their herds, but for commercial producers wanting to improve the genetics they bring into their herds.” 

Stabiliser cattle and genomic EBVs

Wareing continued: “Whenever you have a mating of an animal, there is going to be huge variation in the offspring – you do not get a halfway house of a dam and a sire. If you did, every animal would be consistent in everything.

“In reality, some animals will perform more like the dam and some will perform more like the sire, and sometimes the offspring will outperform the sire and the dam.

“Genomics allow us to move faster by determining if a calf is going to be a good or poor performer in particular traits, so we can make educated breeding decisions to accelerate genetic improvement.”

According to Wareing, the last decade has seen the dairy industry make tremendous breeding strides on the back of genomic testing.

Data from Zoetis (the DNA testing partner for SCC) shows that before genomics, the rate of gain was increasing by 100 points every five years. When sire testing started, this increased the rate of gain to 100 points every two years.

However, once females were tested to allow producers to make highly accurate genetic predictions for both sides of the lineage, rate of gain accelerated to 100 points every year.

“This kind of rapid genetic progress is what we are expecting to see within the Stabiliser breed within the next few years,” explained Wareing.

“It doesn’t matter what the trait is, if you are selecting males and females with GEBVs, you can achieve genetic progress faster than the conventional selection process.”

Sustainability and profitability

Wareing explained that GEBVs will allow Stabiliser breeders to accelerate the genetic progress of their own herds, with sustainability and profitability benefits.

“Genomics will allow a Stabiliser breeder to make decisions early on in an animal’s life, giving them the ability to make better management decisions for better use of resources.

“Commercial producers will have greater access to accurate genetic data and improved genetics for the stock they bring into their herds,” Wareing concluded.