SPI announced recently that single-step Breedplan will be introduced this month. Genomic-enhanced EBV’s are a real game changer for any breed, especially one as young as Speckle Park. Our focus here at Te Mooi is genetic improvement and single step will reduce risk in our breeding decisions and speed up our rate of genetic gain.

“Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.”

Wyatt Earp

Genomic evaluation will enhance the accuracy of EBV’s, increasing the predictability of the traits an animal will pass on. It will also give reasonably accurate EBV’s prior to the collection of objective data. It is still vital to collect contemporary group data and we will continue to do so diligently. In our program, we scan as late as we can so that traits like EMA and IMF% have more time to express themselves. Single Step will allow us to understand the better performers in our herd earlier. 

Some loud voices decry Breedplan claiming Speckle Park EBV’s lack the accuracy needed to be valuable. I’m here to tell you they are wrong. If data is collected and submitted by breeders the EBV’s will have relatively good accuracy even if you only have small numbers. I came across the semen catalouge for Wirruna Poll Herefords, a well established performance driven, high quality program comprising 600 registered females. The average accuracy of their S drop AI sires for 200 day weight is 68%. Our S drop sale bulls sold back in March ranged from 61 to 74% averaging 71%, and that is before Single Step was in play.

When data is included Breedplan is a very valuable selection and identification tool. It is not the only tool, but Breedplan helps us see things that are not always apparent. It corrects for environmental factors and allows between herd comparisons. If however breeders don’t contribute data you render this powerful tool redundant.

A good example of this in our herd is the mating of Minnamurra Pageant P216 and Codiak Pink Poppy. We have bred 7 full siblings in the 2021 drop. One heifer was born at 45 kilograms while her full sister was born at 32 kilograms. Their EBV’s for Birth Weight are 4.5 and 0.4 respectively. If no data was entered they would both be 2.0 the mid-parent average. You can’t look at these two as rising two-year-olds and know, without data having been recorded, who is the low birth weight and who is the higher birth weight individual. Some of the loudest voices don’t record birth weights. This same logic applies to traits from gestation length to IMF%.

Minnamurra Questacon Q39

Identifying the best performers and the best producers is our goal here at Te Mooi and we then using that information to produce animals that move us closer to our breeding objectives. Single Step fast tracks this and creates some real advantages for all breeders. Correcting for environmental differences is what Breedplan does and Single Step only enhances this.

As accuracies increase we get closer to revealing the true breeding value of an animal. A good example of this is Maungahina Kidmans Cove. Data collected on himself and his progeny has revealed him to be an exceptional IMF% bull and he is currently the highest rated IMF% animal in the breed with an EBV of 2.4. His mid-parent IMF% EBV is 1.1, with 141 progeny produced he had moved to 1.8, and now with 313 progeny (45 of these scanned), he has moved to 2.4. Another New Zealand sire Mainstream Eldorado moved from 0.3 for IMF% to 1.1 when another 46 progeny scans added to the data set.

Single step is going to raise accuracy and get us closer to the truth earlier in an animal’s life. One of the other results is likely to be an increase in the range of EBV’s. The range of the top 1% to the bottom 1% for EMA EBV’s in 2018 born animals was 2.3. The range for 2021 animals is 2.9, a 26% increase. More data and Genomics are going to help identify those elite performers and allow us to select animals that get us closer to our breeding objectives.