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TheBeefSite Newsletter - 05 June 2013

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Wednesday 5th June 2013.
Michael Priestley - Editor

Michael Priestley

Wagyu Genetic Gain Set to 'Skyrocket'

Great leaps forward could be on the horizon for Wagyu farmers with the announcement of sexed semen and a genomic discovery programme.

The programme, the Wagyu Beef Information Nucleus, will develop a genomic test through monitoring 1000 pure bred Wagyu steers as they pass through feedlots. The industry has said that genetic gain will skyrocket when the findings are understood.

Specialist digital cameras will then accurately build up a marbling profile, incorporating other carcase data. Findings will be logged in the BREEDPLAN system, a genetic evaluation system with clients worldwide.

A first for the Australian beef industry, Graham Truscott Executive Officer at the Australian Wagyu Association, says the programme is going to offer farmers more accurate estimated breeding values.

“Wagyu is the only breed in Australia utilising the combination of this high level carcase imaging technology.

“It is imperative that Wagyu breeders become involved in BREEDPLAN herd recording to take the most benefit from our genomics discovery project and ensure the breed’s genetic progress is optimised,” adds Mr Truscott.

Presently, genetic gain is at A$2.40. This is the value of dollars returned from a breeding female, and represents an increase of 60 per cent over the past year.

This figure is expected to top the charts for all breeds at around A$5 in the near future.

And while the Wagyu genomic database builds, the arrival of sexed semen has been heralded as bringing about immediate herd management impacts.

Confident of delivering either 90 per cent males or females, Lake Wagyu, a Victoria based sire company has said the semen will be available for both domestic and export markets.

The breakthrough will benefit farmers either focusing on steers for meat or heifers for building up herd size, commented Ken Dungey, Director at Lake Wagyu.

At A$100 a straw, the new semen represents an expensive alternative to unsexed semen, but Mr Dungey stressed the cost of solving the problem of an unwanted bull or less profitable heifer calf is greater than the sexed semen premium.

Two notable donor sires are Lake Wagyu C87 by Michifuku and Moyhu F054 by Yukiharunami 4 and out of a TWA Shikikan daughter. Mr Dungey said these animals have good marbling figures.

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