Sharing Our Angus Genes with the World
A collaboration of Angus producing nations recently released a new tool for cattle producers to use in international commerce involving the breed.
The American Angus Association, the Canadian Angus Association, and Angus Australia came together to produce the World Angus Evaluation (WAE) to improve the accuracies for 11 expected progeny differences (EPDs) used in genetic comparisons of animals in the breed.
Kelli Retallick, president of Angus Genetics Inc. said the collaboration has been going on for a long time between the American Angus Association and the Canadian Angus Association but more recently began working with Angus Australia, whose herd book shows nearly 20% of herd sires are of American influence.
"We have a lot of data overlap between these three countries," Rettallick explained, "and combining forces allows for more accurate EPD predictions and promotes international commerce and exchange of genetics between our countries."
The EPDs being added to the WAE include calving east direct (CED), calving east maternal (CEM), birth weight (BW), weaning weight (WW), yearling weight (YW), maternal milk (MILK), scrotal circumference (SC), marbling (MARB), carcass weight (CW), ribeye area (RIB), and fat thickness (FAT). These data sets can be found in sale catalogs for many breeds, but the WAE from the Angus groups focuses on these traits along with the food angle and claw set EPDs.
The list of EPDs being worked on by these organizations come from what the producers are asking for when predicting genetics, problems they face, and their breeding goals in the Angus breed, which takes time and studying. With information available for comparison in the other countries records, it cuts down on data gathering and expenses to collect the data.
The work being done by the American Angus Association, the Canadian Angus Association, and Angus Australia now lets producers take the next steps of getting accuracy to share with other countries who use Angus genetics in their herds.
"We travelled to the World Angus Technical Meeting where all the breed societies from around the world get together and share ideas and we were able to present on this topic," Rettallick said. "There's a lot of interest from those groups. We just need to make sure that quality data continues to come into our genetic evaluations. As we think about this World Angus Evaluation, we'll continue to look for strategic partners, we'll continue to look for other traits that we can research out together, which is the really exciting part about this evaluation."
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Gallery Credit: Paul Drake