What is BreedObject?
BreedObject is a software tool for use with BREEDPLAN. It assists the targeting of beef breeding programs by calculating the optimum mix of EBVs for any given situation. The program is designed for stud and commercial breeders and anyone else making selection decisions.
Astute cattle breeders already attempt to balance their selection by placing varying emphasis on, say, the growth, fertility and carcase EBVs. BreedObject is a tool to optimise this balance, based on economic and production data for relevant commercial enterprises.
In the BreedObject program, the available BREEDPLAN EBVs on a line of animals are given economic weightings. These are generally customised for each user and situation, for example for a breed society or an individual bull buyer. The weighted EBVs are combined into a single EBV, the $INDEX. In this way, a group of animals (sale bulls for example) can be ranked for a variety of uses.
Uses of BreedObject
- ranking bulls for selection in seedstock herds;
ranking sale bulls of seedstock herds, for different purposes, as a service to clients;
- bull buyers ranking available sale bulls;
- selection among potential AI sires;
- assessing trait importance for different production environments and markets;
- managing genetic trade-offs (e.g. growth vs calving ease, meat yield percentage vs marbling, growth vs mature cow size, fertility vs carcase);
- breeds and/or breeders identifying potentially elite young sires for further testing;
- gaining an indication of the differences in price justified between bulls.
The BreedObject technology was developed by the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU). It is being commercialised by the Agricultural Business Research Unit (ABRI) as part of the BREEDPLAN service. Delivery options include the following:
- Breed societies develop a series of indices for typical markets / production environments for which their stock are most commonly used. These indices are usually developed by society technical staff in close collaboration with the developers of BreedObject. The indices are then made available on society websites for recorded animals of the breed, together with their EBVs — see the example of a website listing for stock, showing indices and EBVs. The indices are then also available for animals listed in sale catalogues and other uses described above.
- Some consultants have done a BreedObject training course run by AGBU. Commercial or stud breeders can engage these consultants to set up the program specifically for their use, for example to rank bulls for the environment, the herd and the end market where they will be used. When the program is run, users can alter breeding or marketing objectives to see the effect on bull rankings.
- BreedObject on the web is available for public use. This also includes options to list or evaluate catalogues of sale bulls, semen or embryos using the BreedObject indices.
- As a bull buyer, the use of BreedObject can be as simple as learning to read this new style of catalogue information. At the other end of the scale, buyers can (with help from a consultant) obtain their own customised rankings on potentially any BREEDPLAN herd’s sale bulls.
See other Agnotes in this series for further information on BREEDPLAN and EBVs.