October 13, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
Holly Martin, director of communications
To download photo, click here.
Cutline: The World Angus Evaluation is the result of a partnership between the American Angus Association®, the Canadian Angus Association and Angus Australia.
Led by AGI ®, the three-country evaluation releases updates for growth, carcass and maternal measures.
As both the world and the cattle industry become more and more data-driven, Angus breeders want user-friendly tools they can trust. One such tool, the World Angus Evaluation (WAE), is released as of October 13. It aims to help eliminate hurdles for cattlemen participating in international commerce with Angus genetics.
Participating groups – the American Angus Association®, the Canadian Angus Association and Angus Australia – have analyzed the breed’s genetics globally to create an international tool for genetic comparisons. The evaluation also uses data from the three groups to improve accuracies for 11 expected progeny differences (EPDs).
“That influx of really good, high-quality data is just going to strengthen our predictions, strengthen our accuracies, and really improve the robustness of our evaluation,” said Smitty Lamb, board member of the American Angus Association®.
Because the WAE is an expansion of a foot score evaluation released in 2020 by the same entities, the claw set EPD (CLAW) and foot angle EPD (ANGLE) are already available in the three-country evaluation. Angus Genetics, Inc. (AGI®) leads the WAE research efforts for the three groups.
“Putting all the data together leverages each association’s database really well,” said Kelli Retallick-Riley, president of AGI®. “We want to make sure that when Angus producers, no matter what country they’re in, go to sell a bull or goes to purchase genetics, they have access to comparable EPDs.”
The 11 additional traits included in the 2023 WAE release are calving ease direct (CED), calving ease maternal (CEM), birth weight (BW), weaning weight (WW), yearling weight (YW), maternal milk (MILK), scrotal circumference (SC), marbling (MARB), carcass weight (CW), ribeye area (RIB) and fat thickness (FAT).
The U.S., Canada and Australia have engaged in the trade of beef cattle genetics for many years. However, it has not been easy for breeders to translate how an animal from one country scores under another country’s evaluation system, said Mark McCully, CEO of the American Angus Association®.
The common currency created through the WAE will support trade activity and simplify comparing animals’ EPD values.
“We’re trying to empower our breeders and give them choices,” McCully said. “We want to make sure as a breed association that we’re well-positioned to make sure our breeders can be successful with the data that they want to use.”
Myles Immerkar, CEO of the Canadian Angus Association, cites birthweight records as an example of increased efficiency and accuracy of evaluations, where more data points create better tools for members. He estimates the Canadian Angus Association has around 1.2 million birth weight records alone, but together the World Angus Evalution considers 9 million records in its calculations.
Aside from increasing ease of trade and evaluation accuracies, sharing data with one another helps all three groups because data on some traits is difficult and expensive to collect, McCully said. Specifically looking at traits related to carcass merit, combining forces, allows genetic evaluation for carcass traits to become more robust while avoiding additional costs for data collection.
“Our global initiative is a great step forward for the global Angus community and something we’re really grateful being part of,” said Christian Duff, Angus Australia’s general manager of genetic improvement.
High-quality research on tough questions often requires collaboration at an international level. A geneticist with AGI ®, Andre Garcia, said outside of the World Angus Evaluation the teamwork between entities has been exciting, because they have valuable discussions about their overlapping work during monthly meetings.
“It’s really fun to be able to work with partners that you trust, you enjoy working with, and that all have similar objectives when it comes to the success of Angus cattle around the world,” Retallick-Riley said.
Duff said that while his members have been looking forward to the release, he knows there will also be questions about it. In response, member outreach and education will be ongoing.
One piece of good news for Angus breeders in the three counties is the WAE will not change members’ data collection or reporting procedures. Other common questions have been about data security and how the sets were combined. The associations assure their members that their data submissions are being treated with the same care for the WAE as they would be for any other tool or research project.
Kelli Retallick-Riley said the group has been working on the research portion of this project for about 5 years to ensure proper testing and validation was conducted prior to its release. To learn more about the WAE, watch the Angus University Webinar recording on the topic, originally presented on October 10, at bit.ly/AngusU1023recording.
Breeders can also use the WAE Global Sire Summary search tool at bit.ly/GlobalSireSummary, and read the joint news release with the Canadian Angus Association and Angus Australia at bit.ly/WAEjointrelease.
– Written by Sarah Kocher, Angus Communications
ANGUS MEANS BUSINESS. The American Angus Association® is the nation’s largest beef breed organization, serving more than 22,000 members across the United States, Canada and several other countries. It’s home to an extensive breed registry that grows by more than 300,000 animals each year. The Association also provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers.
For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association, visit www.angus.org.