The following material is sourced from the Australian Wagyu Association Wagyu Breeding Guide:
This 2015 First Edition will assist Wagyu breeders to better understand the wide range of Wagyu Fullblood sires and dams used in Australia and their performance capabilities. Both Black and Red Wagyu are included. All rankings are based on the new Wagyu EBVs and Fullblood Terminal Index using abattoir carcass results.
A key goal of our R&D program has been to identify new Australian bred sires with higher performance than their forebears. The AWA is delighted to see these sires emerging in this Wagyu Breeding Guide as they form the foundation for genetic improvement.
The results supporting the positions of some sires in the Australian national Wagyu herd now have extensive carcass data support and so high EBV accuracy. Others will increase their accuracy and may change their ranking as more data is added and we urge all producers, feeders and processors to contribute.
The Wagyu Collaborative Genetics Research Project has provided the carcase data used in this analysis. Thanks to Meat & Livestock Australia for its joint funding, to AGBU and ABRI for their outstanding scientific contribution, and to all supporting data contributors who have so generously shared their herd information.
This Wagyu Breeding Guide will help simplify the selection process for you. It provides a listing of bulls and females from Australia with substantial carcase data recorded. Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are used to organise bulls by the most common breeding objectives. Wagyu breeders can select bulls and dams from the Wagyu Breeding Guide with confidence that the information is independent and backed by strong science from the Animal Genetics & Breeding Unit (AGBU) and the Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABRI), based at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW.
All tables also include each bull and/or dam’s Fullblood Terminal Index (FTI), developed specifically for Wagyu by AGBU to compare the animal’s genetic contribution to their individual slaughter progeny’s commercial value. The FTI formula reflects the value Wagyu breeders place on carcase weight and marbling. Leading bulls that make the Wagyu Breeding Guide rank highly for slaughter progeny profitability. For feeder producers, 200 and 400 Day Weight EBVs can help in identify early growth that might be employed to enhance returns.
This Wagyu Breeder Guide enables you to apply your own priorities and select appropriate sire and dam breeding for your herd. Where your selection of seedstock genetics is unavailable for purchase, a review of pedigrees will provide a direction for alternative selection. An AI Sire listing on Page 33 identifies those bulls in the Wagyu Breeding Guide with semen available.
The following is Wagyu Breeding material sourced from the American Wagyu Association website:
Making genetic improvement in breeding Wagyu cattle depends on selection of superior animals and then mating males and females to optimize the best characteristics of both parents. The best way to select animals is to use EPD’s, which stands for Expected Progeny Difference. These estimates of genetic potential are measured in the same units as the trait, such as weaning weight, which is measured in pounds. EPD’s are plus (+) and minus (-) values that are measured around an arbitrary base. Therefore the absolute value of an EPD is not very useful. EPD’s are used for comparing two or more animals. Briefly, the difference in the EPD’s of 2 sires is the expected difference in the progeny average of those two sires assuming that the females are on average the same for both Sires.
Accuracy of EPD’s is measure on a scale from 0 to 1 or 0 to 100. Higher accuracy is achieved not only with observed post-birth performance data but with more recorded progeny and larger contemporary groups. Higher accuracy means that the estimate of the EPD will change less (standard error is smaller) when new information is added compared to lower accuracy (<50%).
EPD’s are very valuable, but require actual measurements of animals before they can be computed. Producers need to measure as many traits as possible, record those measurement and report them to the Association so that an EPD analysis can be conducted. Traits like birth weight, calving ease, gestation length, weaning weight, milk, yearling weight, scrotal measure, final weight, mature cow weight are some important live animal traits. Important carcass traits are carcass weight, rib eye area, marbling (IMF%), external fat thickness and yield.
BREEDPLAN software was developed in Australia and although the technology is universally used around the globe, much of the reference material is quoted below in METRIC and the breeding values are referred to as EBV (Extimate Breeding Value). In the US, the breeding value is referred to as EPD (Estimate Progeny Difference) and the traits are measured in IMPERIAL (except scrotal circumference ~ cm) therefore, an EPD is typically 50% of the EBV value. Australian Wagyu Association utilizes BREEDPLAN as a genetic evaluation tool. Members whom participate not only recieve individual herd reports but a detailed sire summary is generated as well.
(NOTE: The genetic base for the Wagyu breed is identical in both the US and Australian populations. Many of the reference sires have had objective data collected (themselves and/or progeny) and were analyzed in BREEDPLAN. Therefore, the EBV results may be considered in your selection decision here in the US. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the AWA office)