Testing beef cattle for net feed efficiency - standards manual


This manual outlines the standards required for accreditation by the Performance Beef Breeders Association (PBBA) as a testing facility eligible to submit data to breed society databases for the purpose of generating BREEDPLAN Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for Net Feed Efficiency (NFE).

Testing animals for NFE allows for comparison of individual animals within a test group. The main objective, however, is to generate EBVs of potential sires by removing non-genetic variation as much as possible. Ideally, data from all NFE tests within and between locations should be able to be pooled for the estimation of EBVs for as many sires as possible. Standardising the test procedures within and between locations reduces non-genetic variation, and with adequate genetic linkages between tests, data from different tests can be used for estimating EBVs.

This manual contains descriptions of the various components of testing for NFE, and in many cases outlines recommendations or alternatives to the systems available. Each of the points listed as the Code of Practice for that particular section is mandatory, and must be included in the testing procedures.

It is expected that NFE tests will be conducted either ‘on-farm’, where all animals originate from the same property, or at a ‘central-test’ facility where animals from a number of origins are assembled at a designated location for testing under uniform conditions. The recommendations and requirements provided apply to both types of testing unless otherwise stated.

1. Accreditation of testing facilities

Persons or companies wishing to gain accreditation as either an ‘on-farm’ or ‘central’ test facility should:

  1. Notify the PBBA and the relevant Breed society or societies of their intent.
  2. Complete and submit to PBBA an ‘Application for Accreditation’ (available from PBBA or breed societies), agreeing to abide by the requirements of this manual, and outlining intended procedures in accordance with these requirements.

Acceptance of this application and subsequent accreditation as a testing facility will be at the discretion of the PBBA.

The PBBA Secretariat is currently care of

Australian Limousin Breeders Society Ltd
PO Box 262, Armidale, NSW 2350.
Phone: (02) 6771 1648, fax: (02) 6772 9364.
E-mail: limo@northnet.com.au

With ongoing development of testing procedures and NFE research, periodic changes to the Standards Manual may be made. In the case of significant changes being made, an amended edition of the Standards manual will be issued to all accredited facilities. In the case of minor changes, all accredited facilities will be notified of that change. It remains the responsibility of individual managers of testing facilities to ensure that the current edition of the Standards Manual is addressed in their application for accreditation.

The purpose of the application for accreditation is to describe the system developed at that testing facility to satisfy the requirements of the Standards Manual to achieve accreditation. It is expected that the application will address the procedures, systems, resources and responsibilities that are, or will be, utilised to satisfy the accreditation requirements.

Once a facility is accredited, if changes to the testing procedures are proposed, an amended application for accreditation must be submitted to the PBBA for approval before data generated from the modified system can be accepted for BREEDPLAN analysis.

Code of practice

Each testing facility will submit an application for accreditation that acknowledges the requirements of this manual and outlines procedures or systems in place to satisfy each of the requirements of the Standards Manual, and which must be approved by the PBBA prior to accreditation.

The relevant sections of the application for accreditation must be assessed following notification of any changes to the Standards manual, and appropriate modifications made to the application and to testing procedures. Each modification to the application shall be recorded and an amended copy submitted to the PBBA.

2. Environmental and legal responsibilities

Development and establishment of testing facilities may require development consent under the particular State Environmental Planning and Assessment (EP&A) Acts. Each State has different requirements and different consent authorities for different levels of development. These requirements should be available through that States Department of Agriculture or Primary Industries.

Testing facilities may be regarded as legally constituting feedlots. The National Guidelines for Beef Cattle Feedlots in Australia define a feedlot as ‘a confined yard area with watering and feeding facilities where cattle are completely hand or mechanically fed for the purpose of production’.

Further requirements for feedlots, such as environmental protection and animal welfare are detailed in the National Guidelines for Beef Cattle Feedlots in Australia, published by the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management. Specific requirements regarding animal welfare, the Australian Code of Practice for Welfare of Cattle in Beef Feedlots, are outlined as an appendix in this document, which is available from CSIRO Publishing, PO Box 1139, Collingwood, Vic. 3066.

3. Eligibility of animals for testing

3.1 Age

Animals can be tested from immediately post weaning until the later stages of their growth phase, usually less than two years of age. It is strongly recommended that during the initial years, tests should be conducted post-weaning, as more data is currently available and the development of EBVs will be more rapid. The range in age within a contemporary group must not exceed 60 days. (see 3.3)

3.2 Sex

Bulls, steers or heifers can be tested. Due to management difficulties with testing of mixed sex groups, and the fact that genetic improvement can be achieved faster through appropriate bull selection, it is recommended that bulls only should be tested, especially at Central Test facilities.

3.3 Contemporary Groups

Animals must be tested in contemporary groups to ensure that comparisons are made between animals which have been run under identical conditions, both for traits measured before and during the NFE test. The largest practical number of animals in a contemporary group is recommended as it will provide more comparative information per animal. In the event of an animal being withdrawn from a contemporary group after commencement of the test, data from the remaining animals should still be submitted.

Code of practice

A contemporary group shall consist of a minimum of four animals bred from a minimum of two sires with a minimum of two progeny per sire.

The contemporary group must adhere to the BREEDPLAN specifications provided for the trait of 400 day weight, ie: the maximum range in age is 60 days, same herd, same sex and same management since birth.

3.4 Genetic Links

Comparison between contemporary groups is based on genetic links. To ensure that adequate linkage is available between contemporary groups it is recommended that each contemporary group should include the progeny of at least one link sire. A link sire is defined as any sire which has had progeny tested for NFE in another contemporary group.

Central test facilities and/or Breed Societies should provide a list of all previously represented sires at all test stations which can be used to create linkages.

For breeds where no sires have been previously represented in a test, it is recommended that a sire represented in the CRC project be used. It is also recommended that bulls selected for testing have well balanced EBVs to increase the desirability of usage in AI programs and to therefore increase and improve linkages.

3.5 Animal Health

Health requirements are the responsibility of individual test managers and shall be specified for entry to each location in the case of Central Test facilities.

The purpose of specifying mandatory health treatments is to ensure that all animals have the ability to achieve their potential growth performance, and all animals are assessed on an equal basis.

Code of practice

Within a test all animals shall be subjected to identical health treatments.

All animals entering a test will have received standard health treatments that allow each animal to achieve potential growth performance in that environment.

Records of any remedial health treatments administered to individual animals must be maintained.

3.6 Mandatory Background Information

Specific background information must be recorded for all animals entering a test for data to be accepted by BREEDPLAN.

It is recommended that twins not be tested, as they must form a separate contemporary group from single born animals, as specified for BREEDPLAN contemporary groups.

Within one week of beginning testing, and before removing test animals from existing contemporary groups, the weights of all animals in that group should be recorded.

Code of practice

The following information will be recorded for all animals entering a test:

  • Individual animal identification
  • Sire and Dam identification
  • Date of Birth
  • Whether single or twin birth
  • Breed
  • Sex
  • Property of birth identification
  • Weights of all animals from contemporary group test animal originated from.

All animals must be recorded on BREEDPLAN, with at least a 200 day weight record available. Performance data on all animals from the same herd as the tested animals must be available so as to account for effects of prior selection of animals entering the test.

4. Conduct of test

4.1 Allocation of Animals to Groups

A ‘group’ may consist of any number of animals in individual pens, providing those pens are adjacent to each other and are of a similar structure, size and physical environment. In the case of the use of semi or fully automatic feeding systems, large groups may need to be sub-divided into smaller groups and placed in group pens. The allocation of individuals to group pens should be random and must be recorded.

Code of practice

All animals in the same group must be fed and maintained under similar physical conditions, and must be fed a ration containing ingredients from the same batch.

Bulls must be tested separately to steers and heifers. Where animals need to be fed in more than one group, they must be allocated to groups at random within age and/or weight classes, to minimise bullying when randomising animals. Contemporary groups existing prior to the test must be maintained.

4.2 Feeding System

The greatest variation across testing facilities will be in the use of alternate feeding systems. The simplest and cheapest system to develop and use is to hand feed a manually weighed ration to animals in individual pens. Alternately, different levels of automation may be incorporated, up to fully automatic and computer recorded weighing and dispensing of feed to electronically identified animals run in group pens.

Commercial feeding units that automatically weigh, dispense and record intake of individually electronically identified animals are currently being developed for purchase for ‘on-farm’ testing. Details on availability and suitability of these units can be obtained from Breed Societies or State Departments of Agriculture or Primary Industries Extension staff.

Cattle should have constant access to feed. In the event of a mechanical breakdown or disruption to the feeding system, strategies must be in place to enable all cattle to have access to their normal ration within 24 hours. If this feed cannot be accurately weighed or recorded to each individual animal, that days data must be excluded from the weekly feed intake summary, and this event recorded.

Code of Practice

The feeding system used must incorporate accurate measurement and recording of daily individual animal feed intake. Provision must be made to have available sufficient back-up facilities, resources, equipment and personnel to ensure that interruptions to feeding systems are minimised.

Feeding must be ad libitum throughout the test, with animals having constant 24 hour access to feed.

If changes to the feeding system prevent accurate measurement of individual feed intake for any period, for the duration of that period any data generated must be excluded from weekly feed intake summaries, and this event recorded.

4.3 Animal Identification

The animal identification system adopted must be appropriate for the feeding system used. An adequate identification system is essential to allow individual animal feed intake to be recorded and data submitted to BREEDPLAN.

Commercially available automatic feeding systems require the use of a compatible electronic animal identification system, with details available from the manufacturer.

Code of Practice

Individual animal identification in accordance with BREEDPLAN requirements must be utilised.

4.4 Ration

The ration offered must be balanced for all essential nutrients and be of suitable energy and protein levels so as not to inhibit potential animal performance and must be delivered in a format that minimises ingredient selection.

Feeding of a supplementary roughage such as straw is not a requirement, but may be provided to aid rumen function. If it is used, it must be available to all animals (free choice) at an average of not more than 0.5 kg per day per head.

Commercially available feed additives or supplements may be included in a ration to minimise health risks, to provide essential nutrients lacking in the base ration, or to ensure that the ration meets the minimum standards for metabolisable energy and crude protein, provided they are included within the manufacturers recommendations or to accepted industry standards.

Code of practice

The ration must be analysed for level of metabolisable energy (MJ ME/kg dry matter) and crude protein (%) by a licensed feed analysis service prior to testing and whenever there are major changes in ingredient source to ensure it falls within the acceptable range. During the test, a sample of the feed must be taken at least weekly and weekly samples bulked. The bulked samples must be analysed following the test to determine average feed composition.

Feed additives or supplements included in the ration must be recorded.

If supplementary straw is provided, it must be analysed prior to and following the test.

The ration must consist of a minimum of 9.0 MJ metabolisable energy (ME) per kg dry matter (DM), and a minimum of 14% crude protein (CP) per kg dry matter (DM).

Minimum levels for ME and CP are stipulated in the Code of Practice to ensure that potential growth rates are not restricted. It is recommended that for a post-weaning test operators aim to provide a ration as close to 10 MJ ME/kg DM as possible, and for progeny tests or animals during the finishing phase, as close to 12 MJ/kg DM as possible. This will help to ensure rations used in different tests are as similar as possible, and non-genetic variation is minimised.

Care should be taken to ensure the ration is suitable for the class of stock. Young growing animals should not be fed rations containing excessive levels of energy. If a high energy finishing ration is fed for a specific test, and is achieved by inclusion of a substantial grain component (>40%), it is recommended that buffers be included in the ration and progressive increases from low to high grain content during the pre-test period be adopted.

It is strongly recommended that feed analyses performed before the commencement of test are conducted in sufficient time to modify the intended ration if there is a risk that the ration could fall outside the stipulated levels and cause data generated to be rejected.

4.5 Pre-test Adjustment Period

An adjustment period is necessary to allow all animals in the test to adjust to the ration and the environment prior to commencement of the test. Assessments should be made during this period to monitor individual feed intakes and acceptance of the diet.

If shy feeders are detected during this phase, it is recommended that they be separated from the rest of the group during the pre-test adjustment period. If substantially more than 21 days is required to ensure all animals have achieved satisfactory levels of feed intake, caution must be used to ensure that no animals reach an age unacceptable for the intended test prior to commencement of the test.

Shy feeders or poor performers may have to be excluded before the test commences.

Code of practice

A minimum of 21 days adjustment period will be adopted.

4.6 Test Protocol

Net Feed Intake is the trait which will be calculated by phenotypically adjusting feed intake for liveweight and gain. As such, within the duration of the test, each animal is weighed at regular intervals to provide an average liveweight for the test and liveweight gain during the test, and the total feed intake by each animal is measured for the duration of the test.

Animals may be removed in groups from the pens where they are maintained for the purpose of conducting fortnightly weighing. All animals must be treated in a similar manner and denied access to any feed during this time.

Automatic feeding systems may incorporate automatic (continuous) weighing procedures. If these are employed, an average daily weight for the first, and each subsequent 14th day is recorded and submitted following the test. Weight records for all days should be retained for the possibility of further analysis being required.

During the test period, it is strongly recommended that animal performance be monitored by way of regular checks. Sick animals may have to be removed from the test.

Faulty equipment, causing loss of reliable data, such as feeding units, scales or identification systems may also be detected in time to allow repairs before the test is invalidated. It is strongly recommended that a back-up power source and spare or reserve weighing, recording and computing requirements are available for emergency use.

Code of practice

The duration of the test must be for a minimum of 70 days on a constant ration. A maximum total of 7 days when data is not recorded within a maximum 77 day period is allowable for the duration of the test.

Animals must be weighed at the start of the test and at least every fortnight thereafter. Animals must not be fasted before weighing.

Figure 1. Time scale for NFE test

(W represents days on which animals are weighed)

adjustment period

Test period

Ad libitum feeding
  W   W   W   W   W   W
-21 -14 -7 0 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70

4.7 Data Collection and Recording

Records must be taken and stored in a format appropriate to the individual tests.

Code of practice

Provision must be made to have available adequate back-up facilities or resources to ensure that interruptions to data collection or recording are minimised.

The following records are required for each animal:

  • Mandatory background information specified previously.
  • Weighing dates and individual animal weights as specified. If automatic (continuous) weighing is used, an average daily weight for each of the fortnightly weight dates (section 5.6) need to be recorded.
  • Feed intake data (including supplementary roughage where applicable). Minimum requirement is total feed intake per animal per week.
  • Feed analysis results - including date of analysis, laboratory, ME, CP and roughage as specified previously.
  • Feed additives or supplements included in the ration.
  • Details of interruptions to data collection or recording.
  • All health treatments administered, and details of sick animals.
  • Individual pen or group pen for each animal.

5. Data input specifications

To calculate NFI, and ultimately BREEDPLAN EBVs for NFI, data must be loaded onto centralised databases. This will happen in a two-step process.

  1. Detailed data from a feed intake test will be loaded onto a database maintained by NSW Agriculture at Trangie. The data will be checked for compliance to test requirements, and will be processed into a summarised form. Reports of results from individual animals will be produced, and sent to the test station submitting the data.
  2. A summarised form of the feed intake result will be sent to ABRI for loading onto the NBRS database. This data will be used to calculate BREEDPLAN EBVs for NFI when these become available.

Code of practice

Only data submitted electronically in a specified format will be accepted for loading onto the Trangie database. Files should be submitted in a spreadsheet format compatible with Microsoft Excel 97. Most spreadsheet packages are able to save files in a format able to be read by Excel. If this is not possible, data should be saved in a ‘comma separated variable’ format (filename.csv), where columns are delimited by commas. Four sheets must be submitted, named ‘test’, ‘animal’, ‘intake’ and ‘weight’. Where possible, these sheets should be contained within a single workbook, and the file should be named by the test station code - year - test number combination (ie. the first 3 fields of the test sheet).

Once in the correct format, the data file should be sent on disc (PC format) to NFI Testing, NSW Agriculture, PMB 19, Trangie NSW 2823 or e-mailed to nfi@dpi.nsw.gov.au with subject heading ‘NFI data’. A copy of the ration analysis report should be sent or faxed to 02 6888 7201. Data will not be processed until the ration analysis report is received. Contact details should be supplied so that receipt of the data and ration analysis report can be acknowledged.

The formats for the four sheets are described below. Example sheets containing data in the correct format for submission are also given. The data used in the example have been altered for demonstration purposes in some instances.

NSW Agriculture will endeavour to process the data within a maximum of 10 working days of receiving the data in the correct format. The processed data will be forwarded to ABRI for loading on the NBRS database. As with other data submitted to BREEDPLAN, a charge will apply for loading onto the NBRS database, and ABRI will invoice the breeder or test station manager for this work. NSW Agriculture will notify the test station manager once the data has been sent to ABRI, and a report on phenotypic performance of the animals will be sent.

5.1 Test Sheet

This sheet contains information specific to each test (defined as a group of animals fed using the same ration and feeding system at the same time). The sheet should contain one row of information laid out as follows.

Column Field Name FormatDescription
A Test Station 3 Character code (upper case).
E.g. 'PVI'
Code assigned to the test station at which the test was conducted. This code will be supplied when accreditation is gained.
B Test Year Integer.
E.g. '2000'
Year in which the test started.
C Test Number Integer.
E.g. '1'
Number of the test started that year (1 to 99, assigned by station manager). The columns Test Station, Year and Number combined must define a unique test.
D Test Type 1 Character.
E.g. 'P'
P = post-weaning (generally used for bulls on lower energy diets); or

F = finishing (generally used for steers measured on feed-lot rations).

E Pre-test Date dd/mm/yyyy

E.g. 01/06/2000

Date animals entered test facility and started pre-test adjustment period.
F Start Date dd/mm/yyyy Date the test period started.
G End Date dd/mm/yyyy Date the test period finished.
H Ration ME Number rounded to 1 decimal place.
E.g. '10.8'
Metabolisable Energy content of the test ration (in MJ ME/kg Dry Matter).
I Ration Protein Number rounded to 1 decimal place.
E.g. '16.1'
Protein content of the test ration (in %)
J Ration Dry Matter Number rounded to 1 decimal place.
E.g. '89.7'
Dry Matter content of the ration (in %)
K Supplement Quantity Optional. number rounded to 1 decimal place.
E.g. '0.5'
Quantity of supplement (e.g. straw) fed to maintain rumen function (kg per head per day). Can be left blank if no supplement fed.
L Supplement ME Optional. number rounded to 1 decimal place.
E.g. '5.1'
Metabolisable energy content of the supplement (MJ ME/kg DM). Can be left blank if no supplement fed.
M Supplement Dry Matter Optional. number rounded to 1 decimal place.
E.g. '98.7'
Dry Matter of the supplement (%). Can be left blank if no supplement fed.
N Laboratory Code 3 Character code (upper case).
E.g. 'HAM'
Code for laboratory providing ration analysis. HAM = Feedtest, Hamilton, Victoria; AGT = Agritech, Toowoomba, Queensland.
O Method for Intakes 1 Character.
E.g. 'A'
A = Automated measurement; M = Manual Measurement.
P Method for weights 1 Character.
E.g. 'A'
A = Automated measurement; M = Manual Measurement.
Q Animals per pen Number to 1 decimal place.
E.g. '10.5'
Average number of animals per pen.
R Combine pens for analysis 1 Character.
E.g. 'Y'
Whether test manager believes that animals can be compared across pens (Y=Yes; N=No).

The test sheet should look something like this:

Excel spreadsheet

Note that where optional data is not given (e.g. for fields describing the supplementary ration, where no supplementary ration was fed), the relevant column is left empty.

5.2 Animal Sheet

This sheet contains information specific to each animal within the test. Each animal should be represented by one row.

A Breed Up to 5 characters (upper case).
E.g.. 'ANGS'
Code to describe breed society the animal is registered by. The code must match codes used by the NBRS database (see table below).
B Ident Up to 19 characters (upper case).
E.g. 'VTM U141'
The Breed Society ident of the animal. This must match exactly the ident of the animal on the NBRS database (including spaces) if present, so that BREEDPLAN can match the record with other performance and pedigree information. Breed and Ident columns together define a unique animal.
C Tag Optional. Up to 20 characters.
E.g.. 'U141'
A tag or name to refer to the animal – useful for telephone queries regarding animal where Breed Society uses a numerical ident system.
D Sire Ident Optional. Up to 19 characters (upper case).
E.g.. 'USA 416'
The Breed Society ident of the animal's sire (used to verify animal identification on NBRS database).
E Birth date Optional. dd/mm/yyyy
E.g.. '12/08/1999'
Date of birth of the animal (Optional – used to verify animal identification on NBRS database).
F Sex 1 Character.
E.g.. 'B'
B=Bull; H=Heifer; S=Steer
G Test Station 3 Character code (upper case).
E.g.. 'PVI'
3 Character test station code, matches to test station field in test information.
H Test Year Integer.
E.g.. '2000'
Year at start of test, matches to year field in test information.
I Test Number Integer.
E.g.. '1'
Number of test, matches to test number field in test information.
J Management Group 3-character description of management groups.
E.g.. 'MG1'
Field used by test station manager to identify separate management groups during the test which are treated differently and shouldn't be directly compared. Management groups imposed prior to the test will be determined by BREEDPLAN using contemporary group information on the most recent weight prior to entering the test.

The animal sheet should look something like this:

Excel spreadsheet

Australian Societies

Table 1. Breed society codes
ABBA Brahman ABS Braford
ADA Dexter AHS Hereford
ANGS Angus APHS Poll Hereford
ARPS Red Poll ASBA Simmental
BDAQ Blonde d'Aquitaine BELG Belgian Blue
BORA Boran BR Belmont Red
BSSA Beef Shorthorn CHAR Charolais
CHIA Chianina DEVN Devon
DSBS Droughtmaster GCSA Galloway
GELB Gelbvieh LIMO Limousin
LOWL Lowline MA Maine Anjou
MG Murray Grey OSBA Braunvieh
PIED Piedmontese QBRA Brangus
RANG Red Angus RBS Romagnola
SALR Salers SANTA Santa Gertrudis
DEV South Devon SSA Shorthorn
TULI Tuli WAGY Wagyu

New Zealand Societies

Table 2. Breed society codes
NZAA Angus NZHA Hereford
NZLM Limousin NZMA Maine Anjou
NZMG Murray Grey NSAL Salers
NZSD South Devon NZSH Shorthorn
NZSM Simmental   

Contact ABRI (02 6773 3555) if you need a code for a society that is not listed.

5.3 Intake Sheet

This sheet contains information on intake of animals over periods during the test. Each row represents the intake of the animal since the previous intake information. To define the start of the first intake measurement period, a row representing the day prior to the test starting should be included for each animal, with intake set to zero. A code accompanying each intake must be submitted to indicate whether the data is good, suspect or missing (due to problems with data collection). Only periods where information is ‘good’ will be analysed. However it is important that a row is submitted even for instances where the information is suspect or missing, so that this period of time can be excluded when average daily intake of the animal is calculated. Zero intakes should be examined and given a code for ‘good’ if the animal genuinely did not eat for that period, or a code for ‘missing’ should be assigned if the animal did eat but data was lost.

Intakes can be submitted as frequently as daily (1 day periods), or as infrequently as fortnightly (14 day periods). Where possible, data should be submitted in shorter periods (ideally daily), so that suspect or missing data for an animal on one day does not lead to unusable data for the animal for a whole fortnight.

A Breed Up to 5 Characters (upper case).
E.g. ‘ANGS’
Code to describe breed society the animal is registered by.
B Ident Up to 19 characters (upper case).
E.g. ‘VTM U210’
The Breed Society ident of the animal.
C Date dd/mm/yyyy.
E.g. 28/06/2000
Date at the end of the intake period.
D Intake Number to 3 decimals.
E.g. ‘3.734’
Intake of the animal (kg feed freshweight). Can be set to zero or left blank if data is missing for a period, but a row should still be loaded for the period.
E Pen Number 3 characters.
E.g. ‘PN1’
Optional. Number of the pen the animal was in.
F Data Quality 1 character.
E.g. ‘G’
Code to describe data quality. G = Good data; S = Suspect data; M = Missing data.

The Intake sheet should look something like:

Excel spreadsheet

Note that intake on day before the first test day is set to zero. This will be interpreted as stating that the first data collection period started at the end of 27/06/2000. The next row (row 428) therefore is interpreted as stating that the intake of VTM U210 from 27/06/2000 to 28/06/2000 (ie. one day) was 3.734 kg.

Data from periods where the quality code (column F) is ‘S’ or ‘M’ will not be used when the overall intake is calculated, but must still be included so that the correct daily intake can be calculated. For example, the data from VTM U210 on 30/06/2000 (row 430) will not be used to calculate intake, but must still be included so that the period for the subsequent row of data will be correctly calculated as 1 day. If row 430 was omitted, the calculation would (incorrectly) assume that the next intake (8.287 kg) was the intake from 29.06/2000 to 01/07/2000, a period of 2 days.

For days where an animal genuinely had zero intake, this should be recorded as zero (not left blank), and the data quality code set to ‘G’ to indicate that the zero is the correct intake. For example, see the intake for VTM U190 on 04/09/2000 (row 425) in the sheet above.

5.4 Weight Sheet

This sheet contains information on liveweight of the animal. Daily. weekly or fortnightly weights can be submitted. Where weights are collected automatically and several weights are available for each day, the mean weight for each day should be submitted, along with how many individual weights the mean represents. If a weight is missing, no row should be submitted for that animal on that day.

A Breed Up to 5 Characters (upper case).
E.g. ‘ANGS’
Code to describe breed society the animal is registered by.
B Ident Up to 19 characters (upper case).
E.g. ‘VTM 210’
The Breed Society ident of the animal.
C Date dd/mm/yyyy
E.g. 29/06/2000
Date on which the weight was collected.
D Weight Number to 1 decimal place.
E.g. ‘304.5’
Mean weight of animal on that date.
E Number of Records Integer.
E.g. ‘2’
Number of individual weights used to calculate mean weight. Set to ‘1’ where animals are weighed once manually.

The weight sheet should look something like:

Excel spreadsheet

Glossary of terms

Accreditation Following a successful audit in accordance with this manual, data submitted to BREEDPLAN will be accepted for calculation of EBVs.
ABRI Agricultural Business Research Institute at University of New England (UNE) Armidale. Is responsible for data processing and commercial operation of BREEDPLAN.
AGBU Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit at joint institute of NSW Agriculture and UNE. Is responsible for research, development and management of BREEDPLAN.
Application for accreditation   Application to PBBA to be accredited as a testing facility, accepting the requirements of the Standards Manual and outlining the procedures adopted to meet those requirements.
BREEDPLAN The Australian genetic evaluation system for Beef Cattle. BREEDPLAN is overseen by a management committee representing Breed Societies, State Government and research bodies.
Code of Practice The minimum requirements that have to be met in each case to achieve accreditation.
CRC Co-operative Research Centre for the Cattle and Beef Industry (Meat Quality) with head office based at UNE and the Tropical Beef Centre at Rockhampton Queensland.
EBV Estimated Breeding Value. A measure of an animal's genetic merit for a given trait provided by BREEDPLAN.
GROUP BREEDPLAN System providing genetic analysis and comparison across herds within a breed.
NFE Net Feed Efficiency. Refers to the difference in animals feed intake independent of requirements for growth rate and body weight.
NFI Net Feed Intake. The trait calculated by phenotypic adjustment of feed intake for body weight and growth as a measure of NFE.
PBBA Performance Beef Breeders Association. A technical committee representing each of the Breed Societies that conduct annual GROUP BREEDPLAN analyses.
Test Measurement and recording of individual animals feed intake and body weight over a specified period for the purpose of determining NFI.

Printed copies of the Manual

Printed copies of the Manual are available from your breed society, from the Performance Beef Breeders Association, phone (02) 6771 1648, or from NSW Agriculture at Trangie Agricultural Research Centre, phone (02) 6880 8000.