1st: Establish a Breeding Strategy
• Crossbred Program: 1/4 Blood (25% Wagyu), F1 (50% Wagyu), F2 (75% Wagyu), F3 (87.5% Wagyu)
• Purebred Program: F4+ (93% -99.9% Wagyu)
• Fullblood Program: 100% Fullblood Wagyu
• A combination of two or more
What should you consider?
• Current Resources: Cattle, land, feed, infrastructure, etc.
• Your Goals & Strengths: i.e. Produce premium beef, strong cattle management
• End/Target Market: Target marble score, price point, who is your buyer?, etc.
Breeding Decisions: Basics
• End market should dictate decisions: Work backwards
• What Traits Are Most Economically Important In Your System?
• Successful Breeding is Optimizing Genetic Potential and Minimizing the Risk of Failure!
• Genetic Selection has the Greatest Opportunity for large ROI with the least $ input!
Use Proven Genetics!!
• First What is Proven?
• Consistency & Reliability of Outcomes:
Why Use Proven Genetics??
• In reality a son is rarely better than his sire/father!
Following is the effort that it takes to breed a top Holstein bull:
There are 10,000,000 Holstein cows in the USA
Of these 4,000,000are milk fat and protein recorded
Of these 827,500 are registered
Of these 8,275 are elite cows (top 1%)
Of these 3,200 are classified as V.G. 85 or better (type assessment)
Of these 1,600 have V.G. maternal sire and V.G. dams
From these, 600 sons enter AI centres
After proving their daughters in a minimum of 30 herds and 70 daughters and minimum reliability of 75%
The top 10% return to service = 60 bulls for use in USA herds
1% or 6 bulls become elite sires to sire the next generation
It takes a minimum of 6 years from selection to a proven sire
• How hard do you think it is to breed a genetically superior Wagyu bull?
“Cheap” or Inferior Genetics
• Long Lasting Effects:
Their Steers –3yrs+ from conception to harvest
Their Daughters –Replacements: 3yrs+ from conception until calving
Their Daughters Daughter’s –5 yrs+ if retained for breeding
• Directly Impact Profitability: Limit the Potential Performance of Animals
• “Don’t be fooled by Cheap or Inferior Genetics, they will have long lasting effects in your herd.” –Scott de Bruin 2018 AUS Wagyu Edge Presentation
Importance of the Female in Breeding
• Female contributes half the DNA, just like the sire
• Often overlooked in raw carcass results & data evaluation
1) Epi Genetics
- inherited and triggered from the maternal environment
- “Turning on or Off” genes in utero”
- heritable phenotype changes that do not involve alterations in the DNA
2) Mitochondrial DNA Inheritance
- mitochondrial DNA inheritance comes from the female only
- mitochondria power the cell
3) Cytoplasmic inheritance
- residual additive genetic inheritance effects unaccounted for by statistical models
4) Other Unknown Genetic factors
• Mitochondrial DNA inheritance: https://www.ajas.info/upload/pdf/17_243.pdf
• Cytoplasmic inheritance: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030286807731
Stonyrun Genetics Jerseys Case Study
• 1985-1995 Observe/track maternal lines of USA Jersey Dairy Cattle
• 1988-2000 Acquire specific Jersey maternal lines
• 1995-2005 Export embryos to Australia from acquired donors
Note: Genetics entering Australia without any performance indexing on dams or sires in some cases
• 2000-2015 Development of imported female lines, females begin to out performcontemporaries in Australia
• 2015-Present: Introduction of Genomics shown these maternal lines to be elite in a 2nd country, 20 yrs later
Current Stonyrun-Aus Jersey Herd
- 125 milking -100 young stock (replacement heifers)
- 6 of Top 100 Genomic females from 5 maternal lines
Prefectural Percentages: 16/16 Analysis: Tajima, Itozakura, Kedaka, etc
- Don’t get caught up on these
- There are high marbling Tajima, Shimane, and Kedaka.
- There are high growth Tajima, Shimane, and Kedaka.
Instead classify sires on traits: Carcass (MS, MF, REA) specialists, Growth & Maternal specialists, or a Balance of both.
• Prefectural Percentages are most useful for tracking inbreeding but Inbreeding coefficients do a better job
• Essentially they have become obsolete with EBVs
EBVs are Good, Use them!! (Pedigree reading is difficult, EBVs make it easier)
·) Use Australian Breedplan
· Largest Wagyu EBV/EPD database outside of Japan
· Thorough and accurate assessment of Fullblood Wagyu genetics
· The analysis includes more than 101,000 dams and 11,700 sires. In addition, there are 31,500 animals with birth weights, 33,500 with weaning (200 Day) weights and 28,000 with 400 Day weights. Fullblood carcase data includes 9,500 carcase weights, 5,700 carcase EMAs, and a total of 9,100 carcase Aus-Meat marble scores, camera marbling percent and camera fineness index measures.
· Now offers Genomic Testing based on all this data for traits including MS, MF, CW, REA, 200D Wt, 400D Wt, and 600D Wt
· 50K SNP profile based genomics (Cattle Industry Leading Technology)
· Highlights strengths and weaknesses of cattle numerically allowing for easier management and mating
·) Use/Invest in high reliability sires backed by actual carcass data (>80% Reliability for MS)
· Or a variety of sons of elite high reliability bulls
· Young sires should be genomic tested to reduce risk and increase reliability