Show Notes

Do you want to develop your understanding of estimated breeding values (EBVs) in cattle? This week's podcast guest, Tom Gubbins, and our host Mark Ferguson chat about breeding values and Te Mania Angus, giving us a great insight into the role of genetics in a farm business.

Te Mania started in New Zealand in 1928 with the closing of the Angus herd book. They have been involved in genetics from the very start, to which Tom credits some of Te Mania's success to. "We've watched, over a long time now, the targets and objectives being reached."

From 23 cows in the 1980s, Te Mania now has 900 cows joined, 690 heifers and a 500 cow embryo herd. The top 10% of cows are now producing 500 calves per year through that embryo transfer program allowing for some amazing genetic gain.

Mark and Tom then run through various data that Te Mania is recording.

"We've been involved in structural EBVs for quite a while [and] been collecting structural data since the validation project in the 80's."

Structure and temperament are what Mark refers to as "stockman's traits" and people wonder why we need EBVs for them, but Tom says their buyers are selecting on them.

"The structural EBVs have been really good at explaining to people the genotypic vs phenotypic effect of structure. Because you can see an animal standing there in front of you with perfectly good feet, but it doesn't have perfectly good EBVs", explains Tom.

"If the animal's going off [to somewhere] that's a bit wet and the feet are prone to growing out badly, then the animal phenotypically standing there with good feet, well the genotypic information from the EBVs are saying that the progeny isn't going to be nearly as good as the father".

"And people are making decisions on that... whereas they might be sceptical on the 600 day weight EBV." And the same goes for temperament. So why is there more reluctance to trust other EBVs?

Tom runs through all of the phenotypic information they have been collecting at Te Mania and how that turns into breeding values, giving us a great insight into what data builds an EBV.

The commitment of Te Mania to the future of the Angus breed is very impressive. From feed efficiency, to IMF, to growth and structure, their level of recording is huge. 

Te Mania have their 2023 2 Year Bull Sale on Tuesday 8th August at 11:30am. Click for full details -

Head Shepherd is brought to you by neXtgen Agri International Limited, we help livestock farmers to get the most out of the genetics they farm with. Get in touch with us if you would like to hear more about how we can help you do what you do best -

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