American Simmental Association (ASA) and the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) are pleased to announce to beef industry stakeholders that their joint, multi-breed genetic evaluation (MBGE) now includes the data of the American Gelbvieh Association (AGA). The addition of Gelbvieh data to the Spring 2013 EPDs pushes the multi-breed dataset to over 11.5 million animal records, and includes four of the seven largest beef breeds in North America - Canadian Angus Association (CAA) having been included since the onset of this multi-breed collaboration.
“We [participating breeds] share the use of thousands of sires due to Gelbvieh’s and Simmental’s use of Red and Black Angus in the production of hybrid seedstock,” said Dr. Wade Shafer, ASA chief operations officer and director of performance programs. Red Angus, Gelbvieh and Simmental all maintain open herd books that provide the basis for thousands of ‘head-to-head’ comparisons across breeds in well-formed contemporary groups. Canadian Angus provides similar opportunities to compare Red and Black Angus genetics.
“Multi-breed genetic evaluation is a very important tool for Gelbvieh breeders as we strive to offer our commercial customers the most reliable EPDs,” offered Dr. Jim Gibb, executive director of AGA. “In addition to being able to account for breed differences, the multi-breed EPD model explains differences in performance due to heterosis. It is imperative for ranchers to be able to accurately compare purebred and hybrid seedstock,” Gibb added.
AGA’s inclusion in this multi-breed collaboration offers another bonus to the beef industry – Gelbvieh EPDs for growth and carcass traits are now published on the same EPD base and scale as Red Angus and Simmental. This allows ranch customers to make direct comparisons across breeds – including hybrid and composite seedstock – for those traits. Greg Comstock, CEO of RAAA, commented that a current goal is to move all traits to a common EPD base for these breeds.
The MBGE model uses pedigree, performance, ultrasound, carcass and genomic data from 50K DNA panels in the calculation of multi-breed EPDs. Another unique feature of the MBGE is that RAAA, ASA, CAA and AGA all utilize some form of “Whole Herd Reporting” which provides improved EPD accuracy through building genetic evaluation on complete contemporary group data.
Comstock summarized the power in what is believed to be the largest multi-breed beef cattle genetic evaluation database in the world, saying, “Through working together, sharing technical resources and pooling data, our respective breeds’ EPDs gain accuracy, our bull customers’ breeding decisions are simplified because the seedstock we supply is of greater value – not just to cow-calf producers but to downstream segments of the beef industry.”
For more information on multi-breed EPDs, visit any of the breed association’s websites: redangus.org, simmental.org or gelbvieh.org.