Beef Genomics Program

AIM
To produce Genotypic Enhanced Breeding Values (GEBVs) for traits which directly contribute to the productive cattle breeding industry, and specifically, the Brahman breed.

BACKGROUND
The BGP is open to all beef breeds in Southern Africa, and South-African and Namibian Brahman are combining efforts to work towards achieving its goal. The primary goal of this project is to establish a reference population for Southern African Brahman, to serve as a benchmark for the breed.

The BGP will focus on difficult and/or expensive to measure traits such as female fertility traits, maternal traits, feed efficiency and carcass traits. A data bank consisting of two components will be established – one for the management and storage of the phenotypical data and one for the genotypical data.

Research stemming from the data will include the establishment and/or improvement of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs), Genomic EBVs and Economic (Selection) Indices. These improved selection tools will hopefully bring about improved fertility, meat quality and feed efficiency in the breed.

ROLE-PLAYERS
Key role-players in the program are the Breed Societies, Agricultural Research Council, TIA and the Higher Education Institutions. They will work in close co-operation with the value chain (feedlots and retail outlets) and other structures in the industry (NERPO, RPO, etc.).

STRUCTURE OF THE PROJECT
The Namibian and South-African Societies submit annual combined Project Proposals to the BGP steering committee, the first on 30 June 2015. The proposal outlines the actions of the project according to a time-line as well as a budget for funding received.

Animals in the project will be 100% tested for a complete range of traits, which are:

  • Days to Calving / Gestation Length
  • Birth weight, wean-, yearling-, final-, mature cow weight
  • Sheath / Navel scores
  • Docility
  • Scrotal circumference
  • Carcase weight, Rib-, Rump Fat, Eye Muscle Area, Intra Muscular Fat
  • Feed Intake
  • Abattoir data
  • Meat Quality data
  • Genotyping (calves, sires and dams – 50 or 150k and sires 800k SNP test)