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Genetic assessment through BREEDPLAN EBVs

BREEDPLAN Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) describe the animal’s genetic merit for a trait, independent of the environment in which the animal was raised. BREEDPLAN EBVs should always be used in conjunction with visual assessment when making animal selection decisions.

Once you have defined your production and market goals through your breeding objective(s), individual BREEDPLAN EBVs can be used to assist in the selection of animals that will help you achieve your objective(s). 

Breeding objective

Relevant EBVs

Increase pregnancy rates and/or weaning percentages

Fertility EBVs (including Days to Calving and Scrotal Size)

Decrease incidence of calving difficulties

Calving Ease EBVs and Birth Weight EBVs

Maintain mature cow weight

Mature Cow Weight EBVs

Increase weaning weight

Weight EBVs (including 200 Day Growth EBVs & Milk EBVs (maternal contribution))

Decrease average turn-off age

Weight EBVs (200/400/600 Day Weight EBVs) and Carcase EBVs (Rib & Rump Fat EBVs)

Increase percentage of animals achieving market specifications

Carcase EBVs (including Eye Muscle Area, Rib Fat, Rump Fat & Intramuscular Fat EBVs)

Some production traits are antagonistic to one another. Therefore it is important that producers are aware that if they select for just one trait, this may comprise genetic progress in another correlated trait. To assist with this process, selection indexes can be used to balance selection across multiple traits.

Selection indexes (a weighted combination of EBVs) provide an EBV for profit ($) for a specific production system/target market. Selection indexes:

  • Determine the appropriate level of emphasis to place on each individual EBV to maximise profitability in a specified production system.
  • Assist you to make balanced selection decisions (i.e. consider a range of traits that are of economic importance to your production system).

This will be discussed in more detail in Module 5: Using and understanding breeding values (COMING SOON).