Making genetic improvement in Wagyu cattle depends on selection of superior animals and then mating males and females to optimize the best characteristics of both parents. The best way to select animals is to use EPD’s, which stands for Expected Progeny Difference. These estimates of genetic potential are measured in the same units as the trait, such as weaning weight, which is measured in pounds. EPD’s are plus (+) and minus (-) values that are measured around an arbitrary base. Therefore the absolute value of an EPD is not very useful. EPD’s are used for comparing two or more animals. Briefly, the difference in the EPD’s of 2 sires is the expected difference in the progeny average of those two sires assuming that the females are on average the same for both Sires.
Accuracy of EPD’s is measure on a scale from 0 to 1 or 0 to 100. Higher accuracy is achieved not only with observed post-birth performance data but with more recorded progeny and larger contemporary groups. Higher accuracy means that the estimate of the EPD will change less (standard error is smaller) when new information is added compared to lower accuracy (<50%).
EPD’s are very valuable, but require actual measurements of animals before they can be computed. Producers need to measure as many traits as possible, record those measurement and report them to the Association so that an EPD analysis can be conducted. Traits like birth weight, calving ease, gestation length, weaning weight, milk, yearling weight, scrotal measure, final weight, mature cow weight are some important live animal traits. Important carcass traits are carcass weight, rib eye area, marbling (IMF%), external fat thickness and yield.
BREEDPLAN software was developed in Australia and although the technology is universally used around the globe, much of the reference material is quoted below in METRIC and the breeding values are referred to as EBV (Extimate Breeding Value). In the US, the breeding value is referred to as EPD (Estimate Progeny Difference) and the traits are measured in IMPERIAL (except scrotal circumference ~ cm) therefore, an EPD is typically 50% of the EBV value. Australian Wagyu Association utilizes BREEDPLAN as a genetic evaluation tool. Members whom participate not only recieve individual herd reports but a detailed sire summary is generated as well.
(NOTE: The genetic base for the Wagyu breed is identical in both the US and Australian populations. Many of the reference sires have had objective data collected (themselves and/or progeny) and were analyzed in BREEDPLAN. Therefore, the EBV results may be considered in your selection decision here in the US. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the AWA office)
- WAGYU BREEDPLAN Initative - MAR 2013 (PDF)
- BREEDPLAN ENROLLMENT FORM (PDF)
- DATA SUBMISSION FORMAT (MS Excel) NOTE: When recording "Animal Ident" just enter the registration number only (remove the FB, FE, PB, PC, etc notation) DATE FORMAT is specific Day Month Year (DDMMYYYY). Please review the example format supplied so you can familiarize tyourself with the data fields (correct DATE format, whole numbers, carc data to 1 decimal place, etc) DO NOT MODIFY THIS FORMAT
- CURRENT LIST OF ULTRASOUND SCANNERS (UGC) NOTE: Only ultrasound carcass data that was performed by an accredited scanner can be submitted. Please check expiration date prior to engagement. If unsure contact UGC - email@example.com
- CARCASS SUBMISSION FORMAT (MS Excel)
- A Basic Guide to BP EBVs (PDF)
- A Guide to Recording Performance Information (PDF)
- BREEDPLAN - General Introduction (PDF)
- BREEDPLAN - The Traits Explained (PDF)
- BREEDPLAN - Flyer (PDF)
- Bull Selection Exercises (PDF)
- Comparing Animals from Different Environments (PDF)
- GeneProb Flyer (PDF)
- Interpreting Accuracy (PDF)
- Interpreting BREEDPLAN EBVs (PDF)
- Small Herds: Obtaining Effective Results from BREEDPLAN (PDF)
- Understanding BREEDPLAN Management Groups (PDF)
- Understanding Genetic Linkage (PDF)
- What Drives Genetic Progress? (PDF)
- Why Should You Record with BREEDPLAN (PDF)