Wagyu's big progeny test program

Wagyu's big progeny test program

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AWA to announce ten-year program to kick off this year.

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The Australian Wagyu Association is about to announce a new 10-year Progeny Test Program (AWA-PTP), set to commence later this month and run from until 2031.

The AWA-PTP will be a major announcement on the first day of the WagyuEdge Annual Conference to be held at the Gold Coast next week.

Over the past five years, the association has seen a significant increase in animal registrations and submission of performance data and genotypes for genetic analysis with Wagyu BREEDPLAN. The AWA now holds more than 100,000 genomic profiles on Wagyu cattle and estimates that half of the active registered animals now have genomic-assisted Single-Step Wagyu Estimated Breeding Values.

The AWA is the third largest breed registry by numbers of primary registrations per year. The AWA estimates that 80 per cent of calves registered in the last three years have genomic DNA profiles. With more than 13,000 registered sires and 120,000 registered females, the AWA is now turning its attention to proving up the next generation of Wagyu sires.

The aim of the program is to consolidate the substantial breed progress to date and add further value to this data by testing progeny to validate high-value emerging Wagyu sires.

Whilst the AWA-PTP represents the first formally structured progeny test program for the Wagyu breed in Australia, progeny test programs have proven to be key in the advancement of the Australian beef industry's genetic improvement for the past 30 years.

Through establishing a formalised progeny test program, AWA aims to increase the accuracy of existing high-value Wagyu EBVs as well as develop new Wagyu-specific traits for reproduction, structure, carcase and eating quality.

The AWA-PTP will also help to identify genetically superior sires that will have a strong influence on the future direction of the Wagyu breed.

The AWA-PTP will join approximately 40 fullblood Wagyu sires per year to more than 2,000 Wagyu females over seven breeding cycles using fixed time artificial insemination as recommended by AWA Assisted Reproduction Partners Vetoquinol's Repro360 team. These females will be located across multiple contributor herds, spanning a range of Australian production environments. Contributor herds will be supported by AWA-PTP Animal Health Partner Zoetis, to ensure best practice management of herd health treatments.

AWA chief executive officer Dr Matt McDonagh said the program was the association's investment back into the Wagyu sector to underpin the continuous genetic improvement of Japanese Black Wagyu cattle.

"The Australian industry is globally linked, with AWA members from more than 20 countries that can contribute sires to the program. This will allow us to compare and test the full range of diversity in Wagyu genetics from around the world," he said.

For more information on the program, contact Laura Penrose, AWA Genetic Projects Manager, laura@wagyu.org.au, phone 02 8880 7700.

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