Genetics To Play A Key Role In The Future Of The Beef And Dairy Industries

Apr 23, 2024

The GA 2024 Today, Tomorrow and Beyond conference hosted by Genetics Australia in Geelong on March 18-19 featured national and international speakers and farmers discussing emerging developments in the dairy and beef sectors.


The conference highlighted genetics will play a critical role in making Australia’s beef and dairy industries more environmentally sustainable and profitable


GA CEO Anthony Shelly said the conference reflected on the great achievements made by the Australian genetics industry over recent decades while also looking to the future at opportunities that would make the industries more sustainable and profitable.


“We all want to make sure the cow of the future is well managed, healthy and delivers on the things farmers and the people using our ends products want, especially in the welfare and sustainable spaces,” Mr Shelly said.


“The conference looked at the next level of innovation and what can be done by genetics and new technologies such as gene editing to accelerate change and deliver big returns for our planet and our people.


“We need to adopt and adjust to ensure our animals are more feed efficient, productive, methane efficient and have improved heat tolerance. These developments will be better for our animals, our farmers and our planet.”


The conference highlighted advances in beef on dairy, sexed semen, sustainability and heat tolerance traits among other developments in beef and dairy.


In a presentation on the next genetic frontier, Director of PEAK Genetics, Michael Schmitt, told the conference that there were sustainable solutions to every people, profit and planet challenge facing the industries.


“New technologies aren’t magic and can’t do everything, but tools exist to improve sustainability at the cow and farm level and advancements could accelerate that improvement and develop the cow of the future that addresses what consumers want,” he said.


Mr Schmitt said the connection between PEAK Genetics and Genetics Australia through GA’s joint venture with The URUS Group would help to build grazing genetics around the world.


DataGene CEO Matt Shaffer told the conference that Australia now performs well above the international average in genetic advancement and its investments are providing huge returns to dairy farmers.


Independent work commissioned by Dairy Australia and DataGene shows DataGene will contribute $980 million to the industry over the next 30 years, an exceptional return on investment with a benefit-cost ratio of 15.8 to 1.


“In the first seven years of DataGene, Dairy Australia invested $19 million and that has delivered $331 million in outcomes, a benefit-cost of 17.9 to 1,” Mr Shaffer said.


“We need to stop looking at our navel saying that the rest of the world does a better job than we do,” Mr Shaffer said. “We do a fantastic job and it’s worth celebrating.”


The conference was the first of its type hosted by Genetics Australia and covered IVF systems, reduced emission feeding strategies, sexed semen, unlocking the World Angus Evaluation, the return on investment from 40 years of genetic improvement, the next genetic frontiers, the role of genetic improvement in creating greater integration between dairy and beef, and the importance of estrus intensity.



Estrus Intensity link to reducing pregnancy loss

Managing estrus intensity is a vital tool in reducing pregnancy loss and the Estrotect patch can help farmers to make the right choices. Associate Professor Dr Ky Pohler from Texas A&M University told the GA 2024 conference that assisted reproductive tools increase genetic gains. “Reproductive technology has been key in changing the way agriculture works […]

Cartoons inspire career in genetics

Not many people can claim 1990s Saturday morning cartoons as the inspiration for a successful career in genetics…but Rick Schmidt can. Mr Schmidt has been appointed as Genetics Australia’s Gippsland sales representative. He comes from a diverse background in sales and industrial sciences, most recently as a Key Account Manager for a chemical engineering company […]

Rob Derksen: ‘Australian Jersey Breeders have Embraced the Best Genetics in the World’

Rob Derksen started his career in cattle breeding in 1973, at Victorian Artificial Breeders (VAB), where he first came into contact with the Jersey breed. Derksen has been employed by Genetics Australia (GA) since it was established in 1994. The Australian AI company maintains close contact with Jersey Australia and since 2023 is part of the URUS group. Jersey International spoke with the very experienced breeding man about the Jersey program at GA and the qualities of the Australian Jersey population

The future of farming is in our hands and in our genetics : April ABV report

The GA 2024 Today, Tomorrow and Beyond conference has shown us where the dairy and beef industries are heading, and we were left with no doubt about the vital role genetics will play in shaping future farming enterprises.   The conference gave us the opportunity to engage with innovators and industry leaders along with everyday […]

Celebrating Our Successes

Australian farmers have been urged to celebrate their successes as figures emerge showing just how valuable the genetics industry is to the agricultural economy. During the GA 2024 conference, DataGene CEO Matt Shaffer outlined how breeding values had advanced from milk, fat and some protein readings in 1983 to the vast array of traits available […]

Beef On Dairy Opportunities

Australia’s interest and knowledge in beef-on-dairy – crossing beef sires over dairy cows – is rapidly expanding. Research scientist at Agriculture Victoria, Dr Jo Newton, spoke on the role of genetic improvement in creating greater integration between dairy and beef industries at the GA 2024 conference, pondering the question “will we soon be eating beef-dairy […]

Eleven breeders added to GA honour board

Eleven Australian farmers whose bulls have made a huge contribution on the national herd and across the globe have been added to the Genetics Australia Honour Board.   Six Jersey, three Holstein and two Australian Reds breeders received the honour during the GA 2024: Today, Tomorrow and Beyond conference in Geelong on March 18, joining […]

2024 Beef Autumn Update Out Now!

We are pleased to release our Beef Sire Update for Autumn 2024. We are excited to announce new sires Allendale True Blue T325, Ben Nevis Tribune T302 and Wrigley Supreme S2 are joining the team. Allendale True Blue T325 is the complete package and has recently been approved by Greenham as a recommended sire for their […]

Genetics Drive Sustainability | Macka’s Australian Black Angus

For four generations, Macka’s Angus has been focused on sustainable farming practices and the development of their genetic program on family owned and operated farms in Port Stephens and Gloucester region on the New South Wales Mid North Coast. The operation is managed by Bruce and Robert Mackenzie and Robert’s two sons James and Jack, […]

GA 2024 | Geelong conference to focus on future of cattle breeding

The GA 2024 Today, Tomorrow and Beyond conference in Geelong on March 18-19 will showcase new research and ideas that will shape the future of cattle breeding in Australia. The conference will feature local and international speakers, farmers and dairy and beef industry leaders. It will be the first in-person industry-wide conference hosted by Genetics […]