01 Jun 2017

The Kaiuroo Breeding Program

Since 2014, Kaiuroo management has engaged researchers with the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit to help develop breeding objectives and fine tune the breeding program. This was motivated by the recognition that Kaiuroo has a unique resource in the highly recorded and pedigreed Tartrus cows which presented opportunities, with some strategic recording, to generate rapid genetic progress for economically important traits in the stud herd. The enterprise also aims to supply an emerging and unique organic market from the commercial herd, with genetic improvement coming from bulls bred in the Kaiuroo stud. This combination meant that breeding objectives needed to be developed which incorporated the traditional requirements for reproductive performance, growth, carcass traits and conformation, as well as those of the organic market for minimal chemical intervention, and therefore tropical adaptation, as well as superior meat quality. To address these objectives, a recording program has been developed which includes:

• Intensive measurement of female reproduction to determine age at puberty and lactation anoestrous interval, which were shown by Beef CRC research to provide an accurate basis for selection to improve lifetime female reproductive performance.

• Sperm morphology traits, also shown by Beef CRC research to be an accurate descriptor of male reproduction, and correlated with female reproductive performance.

• Measurement of traits describing tropical adaptation (coat scores and fly lesion scores) which will provide a within herd basis to apply selection for animals which can endure tough northern conditions with minimal chemical inputs.

• Extensive use of genomics to take advantage of the Brahman breeds transition to a full, multi-trait single step analysis in its BREEDPLAN evaluation. This will provide a means to exploit carcass and meat quality records collected in the Brahman BIN and other research herds to apply selection to those traits in the Kaiuroo breeding program.

The Kaiuroo breeding program also aims to offer to the northern beef industry bulls which are well described for the traits which drive profitability in tropical and sub-tropical production systems: reproductive performance, growth, carcass characters and tropical adaptation, while achieving genetic progress for meat quality. To these ends, Kaiuroo is working towards a custom selection index which incorporates all of these aspects of productivity to form the basis of selection decisions within the herd and for potential bull buyers.