Genetics & breeding

MLA invests up to $5 million a year in livestock genetics R&D to facilitate increased genetic gain and adoption with the aim of boosting profitability throughout cattle, sheep and goat value chains.

These investments underpin the development of BREEDPLAN for the beef industry, LAMBPLAN and MERINOSELECT for the sheep industry, and KIDPLAN for the goat industry.

The focus of current genetics and genomics R&D includes:

  • Development of genomic technologies and integration to enhance the accuracy of breeding values
  • Development of new traits, particularly those that are difficult to measure in seedstock businesses, such as eating quality and feed efficiency
  • Development of resource flocks and herds to enable development of new breeding values and to underpin calibration of genomic tests
  • Improving reproduction breeding values
  • Support of extension activities and the people who deliver them to improve industry use of genetic information

Returns to industry

MLA commissioned an analysis of the return on investment for the sheep and beef genetics and genomics program by MLA and co-investors over the period from 2001/02 to 2011/12. The subsequent report revealed the economic value of benefits realised (or expected) by seedstock and meat producers was estimated at $2.88 billion for the sheepmeat industry and $2.3 billion for the southern beef industry.