23rd April 2003
Thank you for your e-mail re Breedplan.
To my mind Breedplan offers a much better way of grading cattle
than EBV's, because Breedplan has the consumer in mind - not
just how much how much beef can be got out of an animal.
As shown on the Land-Care website (Science
Section) Brian Sundstrom is the key man (based in Australia).
He gave a seminar last autumn at Edinburgh. The Aberdeen Angus
Cattle Society were showing a lot of interest, but they seem
to have delayed doing anything until other societies decided
what they wanted to do.
At the Beef 2003 event coming up next month
I understand that the American Breeding programme is going
to be presented or discussed. This is likely to cause further
confusion and delay. In a recent article by Robert Groom in
Land-Care (Science Section 9th April 03) he refers to the
American system. He was a well known AA cattle breeder in
Scotland, but emigrated to the States in 1998 and has since
gone from strength to strength, using forward thinking breeding
technology. We are still stuck in the UK with the stultifying
thinking of MLC/Signet geared for commodity beef that has
little future in the UK.
I believe it is easy enough to register
with Breedplan, but the present difficulty as I understand
it is that there are few people (I believe none in Scotland)
who are trained and accredited by Breedplan to scan for marbling
- an important aspect of the Breedplan grading system (and
rightly so). It needs a bigger scanning head on the machine
than what is needed for EBV and this is expensive. For new
people to get qualified (even just for EBV type scanning)
it is prohibitively expensive, unless they are vets (due to
government regulations). But vets are seldom the best scanners
for muscle in cattle as they do not generally do enough of
it. What is needed is for say a couple of breed societies
to switch over to Breedplan to create enough demand to make
such a scanning service economically viable.
Breedplan can be adapted to any breed.
What is needed is pressure from within breed
societies to adopt the Breedplan way of doing things (or the
American System). But to make up their minds soon and get
on with it (or the American System)
Personally I am disappointed by the delays
and procrastinations of the AA Cattle Society who should have
a lot to gain by leaving EBV and going to Breedplan. I would
have thought the same would be true for Herefords.
Brian Sundstrom's e-mail address is
Again thanks for your enquiry. I would be
pleased to hear further from you as to your thinking as to
what breeding programmes should be in the UK.
Dr James Irvine