2017Search | Site Info | Site Map



Animal Health/


Land Reform









Book Reviews

Light Relief





Contact Us

Get Acrobat Reader



Back to Science Homepage

Have Signet and MLC muscled
in on Breedplan?

(Filed 5 May 2003)
© www.land-care.org.uk

Land-Care previously carried an article by Brian Sundstrom concerning the Australian based international beef genetic evolution programme called Breedplan (1, click to view). Last year Brian made an impressive presentation of the programme to the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society at a meeting held in Edinburgh on the 15th August. There were hopes that the AA Cattle Society would adopt the plan and be one of the first to do so within the UK (although some years behind a number of other countries that are now regarded as increasingly significant competitors).

Breedplan has a major advantage over the present EBV (Estimated Beef Value) system used in the UK under the control of Signet and the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC). The Breedplan system is geared to the production of meat according to the varying tastes of the public, particularly in terms of marbling (intramuscular fat). If beef from Aberdeen Angus, or indeed any, breed is going to be marketed for its eating quality then genuine efforts must be made to breed cattle accordingly. By contrast the EBV system concentrates on getting the maximum quantity of meat, as well as the distribution of fat in parts that are not too relevant to eating quality. That is fine if you are happy with quantities of lean meat of very variable eating quality. More rewarding markets want consistent eating quality which is branded. To do that it is essential to apply the appropriate science, wherever it can be found (2).

We must not delay longer in facilitating breeding to meet the desires of the end market we are aiming at.

Sadly, delay in decision making is just what has happened. It would appear that Signet/MLC have muscled in, and it is soon to be decided whether the Aberdeen Angus breed have lost their initiative. Land-Care understands that later this month the decision will be taken as to whether or not Signet/MLC will have been successful in getting themselves established as a controlling body between Breedplan in Australia and the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society, and everyone else who might want to switch to Breedplan.

So another ray of hope is shaded. What a pity that we could not have got rid of Signet/MLC in connection with cattle breeding. We could really do without that extra unnecessary layer of obstructive bureaucracy between the programme and the breeders. Is no one, or no Cattle Society, allowed any initiative anymore?

My guess is that cattle breeders will end up paying for the services of Breedplan and for a layer of middlemen who to date have done little but obstruct the application of advances in cattle breeding technology.

© www.land-care.org.uk



1. Sundstrom, Brian (2002). Breedplan - Australian Based International Beef Cattle Genetic Evolution Programme.
(Filed 2002, www.land-care.org.uk, click here to view).

2. Groom, Robert (2003). Letter from America by Expatriate Scot AA Breeder.
(Filed 9 April 2003, www.land-care.org.uk, click here to view).