A focus on genomics

Peformance Beef Breeders (PBB) credits a significant part of its success to the strong partnerships it has built over the past two decades.

In Solutions4 Minutes

PERFORMANCE BEEF BREEDERS (PBB) credits a significant part of its success to the strong partnerships it has built over the past two decades.

One of the most notable partnerships was formed in 2018 with Neogen, world leaders in the agriculture and food safety industry. This allowed PBB to step into the New Zealand genomics market and offer high-quality products to all beef breeders at competitive prices.

This move undoubtedly cemented PBB as the one-stop-shop for livestock breeders, with PBB already offering admin, accounting, registry, and graphic design services to 10 beef societies in NZ, including Speckle Park International.

Neogen’s manager business development Dr Pieter van As says it has been an exciting period watching breeders use the data from the DNA tests to make progress in their herd.

Through this partnership, accurate testing for genetic conditions became available. The PBB DNA team worked with the different breeds to create customised genomics bundles with varying genetic conditions to suit.

Dr van As says the ability to carry out disease testing such as BVD in conjunction with other testing was a game-changer. Farmers can now obtain everything they need from one sample. This is especially important as diseases can have a significant impact on a herd’s performance. When the opportunity arose to bring Neogen’s product Igenity Beef to NZ, they leapt at it. Igenity is a genomic test designed for commercial farmers with pure or crossbred animals of the following breeds: Angus, Red Angus, Hereford, Limousin, Shorthorn, Simmental and Gelbvieh.

It is an easy-to-use system which uses the power of genomics to rank cattle from top to bottom on performance and profitability. It does this by providing scores of 1-10 for 17 maternal, performance and carcase traits.

These scores provide farmers with a greater insight into their female’s potential fertility and performance without having to have a calf on the ground. This helps optimise selection decisions onfarm and can pinpoint weaknesses and strengths within a herd, leading to greater genetic gain and return on investment.

PBB general manager Harry Faas says until now commercial breeders could only see half the picture as they only had access to information on the male line. Now with Igenity they can see detailed information for the female line as well. This allows them to easily invest in cows that are easy calvers and consistently produce thrifty, high-quality calves. Before the system was made available in NZ, a lengthy validation process – which coincided with an upgrade to the system – was required.

PBB national territory manager Ella Holland says, “The purpose of the validation process was to make sure Igenity was compatible with our animals and the farming system we have in NZ. We added genetics and performance data from NZ animals to help with this.”

All Igenity users are assigned their own dashboard where results are uploaded.

“With the new sorting tool farmers can have cattle sorted in minutes. It also has special features such as a custom index builder, three pre-made indexes and a benchmarking tool that ranks a farmer’s animal against the entire database of over 18 million animals.”

More? Go to www.pbbnz.com/