Breeding and genetics

The intent of sound breeding and genetics decisions is to increase herd profitability. This is achieved through:

  • Improvements in current herd key performance indicators, and
  • More effectively targeting the desired markets.

Setting breeding objectives is an important first step.

Genetics and selection decisions are a major driver of the beef enterprise. There are two key criteria: the genetic value of the bull (or heifer, breeder) for economically important traits; and the ability of that animal to be able to reproductively ‘deliver the genetics’ (produce calves) for the length of time it is used in a herd. Management then plays a significant role in calf output and producing suitable progeny for market.

Genetic improvement

Bulls and bull management

Breeder and heifer management

Breeding and genetic-related workshops

  • Breeding EDGE (three days)
  • Breeding for profit (one day)
  • Bull selection (one day)
  • Artificial insemination training (through the Emerald Agricultural College, QATC)
  • Pregnancy testing (through the Emerald Agricultural College, QATC)



Crossbreeding for more profit with tropically adapted Bos taurus

The Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries (DPIF) is researching whether crossbreeding with Senepol bulls is a viable way for north Australian cattle producers with Brahman herds to produce animals that will perform well under harsh northern conditions and be suited to the South East Asian live export market and the Australian domestic market. In this webinar Tim Schatz, Principal Pastoral Production Officer (DPIF), discusses the results of the research program to date and compares the:

  • pre and post weaning growth of Brahmans and F1 Senepol x Brahmans in the Top End of the Northern Territory
  • performance of the Brahman and F1 Senepol x Brahman steers in feedlots in Queensland and Indonesia
  • results of meat quality testing from Brahman and F1 Senepol x Brahman steers.

These results are showing that crossbreeding with tropically adapted Bos taurus produces animals with more tender meat and offers significant benefits for both north Australian beef producers and Indonesian feedlotters. Download the webinar presentation slides (PDF, 7MB). 49:36 minutes published 12 June 2015 by FutureBeefAu.

Breeder management to optimise reproductive performance and profit

In this presentation Alan Laing, formerly Queensland Government, outlines the key breeder management strategies to improve breeder herd performance. 2:19 minutes published 3 May 2012 by FutureBeefAu.

Bull Breeding Soundness Evaluation (BBSE)

In this presentation Alan Laing, formerly Queensland Government, outlines Bull Breeding Soundness Evaluation (BBSE) as a process to identify the bulls that are most likely to achieve pregnancies in breeders. 6:16 minutes published 3 May 2012 by FutureBeefAu.

Drought and the breeder

In this presentation Dr Geoffry Fordyce (Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation) discusses the new concepts for measuring breeder productivity, with insights from the recent Cash Cow project and their application to seasonal breeder management. 28:28 minutes published 18 March 2014 by FutureBeefAu.

Genetic tools

In this presentation Alan Laing, formerly Queensland Government, outlines the genetic tools available to producers that will lead to the identification of breeding stock with superior genetics for breeding progeny that will inherit these performance fertility traits. 6:46 minutes published 3 May 2012 by FutureBeefAu.

Insights from the CashCow project

As presented at the Northern Beef Research Update Conference 2013, Michael McGowan (Professor – Production, Animal Medicine, University of Queensland) discusses the findings of a Meat & Livestock Australia funded project that was designed to answer questions related to cattle reproduction and productivity. Hear Michael discuss “How much beef am I producing?”, “How much beef can I potentially sell?”, and “How much does it cost me?” 26:06 minutes published 10 March 2014 by FutureBeefAu.

Keys to making genetic progress

As presented at the Northern Beef Research Update Conference 2013, David Johnston (Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit) discusses the impact of genetic selection on today’s beef industry. Topics covered include how genetics work, how fast you can go, where can we go, EBVs and much more. 21:02 minutes published 6 February 2014 by FutureBeefAu.

Learning from CashCow – the northern Australian beef fertility project

In this presentation, Professor Michael McGowan (University of Queensland) focuses on providing a practical approach to answering the question ‘How is my beef breeding business going?’. Michael also introduces a spreadsheet that will help beef producers: develop key performance indicators; measures estimates of beef production from breeding herds; create benchmarks defining what level of beef production and reproductive performance is commercially achievable by country type, and; identify the major factors that affect the likelihood of a cow contributing a weaner each year. Download the webinar presentation slides (PDF, 1.7MB). 1:09:35 minutes published 3 September 2014 by FutureBeefAu.

Managing breeder condition: Body condition score (BCS)

In this presentation, Bernie English (Senior Beef Extension Officer) outlines the importance of breeder condition, body condition score, breeder management and how condition can be managed to maximise production from your breeding herd. 11:17 minutes published 2 April 2012 by FutureBeefAu.

Using NLIS and herd recording software

In this video Alan Laing, formerly Queensland Government, outlines the advantages of using NLIS together with herd recording software to record pedigrees and lifetime performance of cattle. 4:50 minutes published 3 May 2012 by FutureBeefAu.

Breeder mortality project webinar

Steve Banney talks about the results of the Meat & Livestock Australia project to determining property-level rates of breeder cow mortality in northern Australia. Join Steve as he discusses the report’s findings in this webinar recording. For your convenience, here are the webinar presentation slides (PDF, 785KB). Download the final report (PDF, 2.4MB). 67:19 minutes published 7 May 2013 by FutureBeefAu.

Pregnancy testing for forward planning