Item 4 of 6
In Progress

Progeny testing

Progeny testing can assist to evaluate the performance of individual sires.

A well-designed progeny testing program involves raising the progeny of multiple bulls under the same environmental conditions. This ensures that any differences observed in the progeny are the result of genetics, and not due to differences in environmental conditions. To account for the genetic contribution of the dams to the progeny, bulls being evaluated should either be:

  • Mated to dams of equal genetic merit and age, or
  • Randomly allocated to dams.
While progeny testing allows the evaluation of sires, it does have several limitations:
  • Only sires that are used within the progeny test cohort can be compared to each other.
  • Due to program constraints (such as herd size and funding), some progeny testing programs may only be able to generate and assess small numbers of progeny per sire. In such situations, these programs may not capture the full variation that a sire’s progeny may express.

However, a well-designed progeny test program can provide a snapshot of the performance of individual bulls, particularly young bulls, prior to them being widely used in the industry.

Many industry-based progeny test programs have become valuable resources for genetic assessment (see Lesson 4). These programs collect performance data (phenotypes) and DNA information (genotypes) for use in genetic assessment and also contribute to the genomic reference population (see Modules 5 and 6 for further details). Examples include the Angus Sire Benchmarking Project (ASBP) and the Australian Wagyu Association Progeny Test Program (AWA-PTP).