Impact of Interbeef on national beef cattle evaluations

Renzo Bonifazi, Jeremie Vandenplas, Jan ten Napel, Andrew Cromie, Roel F Veerkamp, Mario PL Calus


Submitted 2020-07-02 | Accepted 2020-08-22 | Available 2020-12-01

International evaluation models for beef cattle allow to compare animals’ estimated breeding values (EBV) across different countries, thanks to sires having offspring in more than one country. In this study we aimed to provide an up-to-date picture of the Interbeef international beef cattle evaluations from a national perspective, considering both large and small populations. Limousin age-adjusted weaning weight (AWW) phenotypes were available for 3,115,598 animals from 10 European countries, born between 1972 and 2017. EBV and reliabilities were obtained using a multi-trait animal model including maternal effects where AWW from different countries are modelled as different traits. We investigated the country of origin of the sires with internationally publishable EBV and, among them, the country of origin of the top 100 sires for each country scale. All countries had 20 to 28,557 domestic sires whose EBV were publishable, according to Interbeef’s rules, on the scale of other countries. All countries, except one, had domestic sires that ranked among the top 100 sires on other country scales. Across countries, inclusion of information from relatives recorded in other countries increased the reliability of EBV for domestic animals on average by 9.6 percentage points for direct EBV, and 8.3 percentage points for maternal EBV. In conclusion, international evaluations provide small countries access to a panel of elite foreign sires with EBV on their country scale and a more accurate estimation of EBV of domestic animals, while large countries obtain EBV for their sires on the scale of different countries which helps to better promote them.

Keywords: international breeding values, genotype-by-environment interaction, Interbeef, reliabilities, weaning weight


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