CONSUMER APPETITE: Angus Australia president Libby Creek, Kingscote, says the breed continues to be in demand among Australian consumers.

Sire program furthers breed

It is great to see cattle continue to achieve healthy returns, with Angus and Angus-crosses repeatedly topping prices as the demand for Angus beef increases.

While recent weaner sales have come back in cents a kilogram terms on this time last year, the heavier weights following a solid spring have helped compensate returns to producers.

During my travels, I ask people from all walks of life when they think of beef, what name they associate with it.

Invariably they say Angus beef.

Angus is a familiar household name and a product consumers buy with confidence for an enjoyable beef experience.

As consumers increasingly ask for Angus beef they seek assurance that what is labelled Angus, is actually Angus. During 2017, the Angus Australia brand verification program has expanded significantly across an increasing list of processors that are committed to ensuring the integrity of their Angus beef brands.

Not only is Angus Australia committed to supporting processors in verifying their Angus product for their customers, we are also committed to researching how we can measure and enhance beef quality nutritional factors such as iron and zinc content, plus its fatty acid profile including Omega 3. All these are becoming of increasing importance for health-conscious consumers.

The Angus Sire Benchmarking Program is an initiative of Angus Australia with support from Meat & Livestock Australia and industry partners including Vetoquinol, Rangers Valley Feedlot and John Dee Abattoir. This research program, in its eighth cohort, is generating a vast amount of data including measurement of hard-to-measure traits such as feed efficiency, abattoir carcase measurement, meat quality attributes and female productivity. Importantly, the ASBP is pivotal for the validation and continued refinement of Angus Breedplan and full utilisation of genomic technology.

Another important focus of the ASBP is the welfare and sustainability-related traits being studied, including animal resilience through strong immune systems. We are very proud of the world-leading research Angus Australia is involved in and the benefits these results will not only bring to our members but the Australian beef cattle industry.

With the continued and expanding demand for Angus beef and the industry enjoying solid returns, upcoming Angus bull sales look to remain buoyant following tremendous sales in 2017.

The extensive objective measurement/genomic evaluation made available by Angus seedstock producers across an increasing range of important traits gives buyers of Angus and Angus-cross cattle plenty of data in which to make informed decisions.

A good example of new technology is the AngusSelect tool, which assists breeders to identify Angus genetics that are most aligned with their breeding goals.

Angus breeders can search and sort for registered Angus animals, semen or embryos that are available for sale and identify the most suitable Angus genetics for use within their breeding program, view upcoming sales featuring registered Angus genetics, find suppliers of registered Angus genetics, and access education modules that assist users of Angus genetics to identify those animals that best meet their genetic selection criteria.

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