The long-term success of any recording scheme depends on access to a genetically-structured database of performance records. Ram breeders in New Zealand have indicated preference for a system providing within-flock breeding value prediction via on-farm personal computers or through commercial bureaux on a regional level. This paper describes recent developments in industry structure in relation to animal evaluation and access to field data for research. Ram buyers, breeders and extension agents all benefit from consistent techniques for calculating and summarising the breeding worth of animals. The within-flock methodology prototyped in Animalplan has now been used to form the basis of a "genetic engine", available under licence, for incorporation into commercial programmes with database and reporting capabilities. Across-flock genetic evaluation (e.g. sire reference analyses) may require access to information from a number of distributed databases. A national identification system which recognises animals used in flocks other than their birth flock is re-requisite to analysis. The National Database has been initiated to ensure the integrity of data and to safeguard such pedigree and performance records for a wide variety of purposes. It will be updated annually to provide a single source for across-flock Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP) evaluation. The provision of the National Database ensures continued access to field data for animal breeding and other applied research. Genetic development of the scheme will come from improved specification of the production model (e.g. new traits and indicators of non-genetic effects) and from improve statistical approaches (e.g. BLUP and estimates of distributed parameters), all requiring access to and analysis of large bodies of genetically-structured field data.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 52, , 85-88, 1992
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