Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Development successes and issues for the future in deriving and applying selection indexes for beef breeding

S. A. Barwick A B and A. L. Henzell A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (a joint venture of NSW Department of Primary Industries and The University of New England), University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: sbarwick@pobox.une.edu.au

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 45(8) 923-933 https://doi.org/10.1071/EA05068
Submitted: 27 February 2005  Accepted: 3 June 2005   Published: 26 August 2005

Abstract

Research and development to provide systems for effective derivation and use of selection indexes has been conducted for the Australian beef industry since the late 1980s. This paper reports on development successes and presents evidence of increasing rates of industry genetic gain in beef production profitability. Key factors in success are identified and include the ability of the index development process to capture the full context of selection. The level of performance recording in many cases is the primary limitation to effective index use. Issues that will be more important in future applications of indexes are discussed. They include the need for more specific selection for environments, for extending the breeding objective to encompass additional industry sectors and aims, for greater account of industry supply and demand flow-on effects, and for combining gene marker tests with other criteria in indexes of economic merit. The critical role of selection indexes in targeting multiple-trait economic merit is likely to increase further with the availability of new gene marker test information.

Additional keywords: breeding objective, across-breed, non-linear, environment, gene marker.


Acknowledgments

BreedObject development is funded by NSW Department of Primary Industries and Meat & Livestock Australia. ‘BreedObject on the web’ development was supported by an ITOL grant from the Commonwealth Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. The assistance of W. H. Upton, D. J. Johnston, H-U. Graser, B. Tier, G. R. Griffith, P. F. Parnell, earlier contributors, Hutchinson Software, the Agricultural Business Research Institute, and others from industry with numerous aspects of system development and index utilisation is gratefully acknowledged. Breed societies are also thanked for permission to use their results.


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