Performance recording has the potential to become more specific in future, with breeds and breeders able to vary the emphasis given to individual traits.

Geoff Simm of SAC’s Sustainable Livestock Systems Research Group told delegates attending the industry launch of BASCO last week that EBVs could be altered to suit client requirements.

And the increasing number of traits available would also provide increased opportunities, added MLC beef and sheep specialist Duncan Pullar.

Customising the figures would involve placing different weightings on different traits to provide an EBV tailored to the breed.

Breeders will be able to develop an index which emphasises their own herd and flock aims, he said.

“But there still needs to be a common index to refer to, otherwise, commercial buyers would find it difficult to understand what each index meant.”

Additionally, Prof Simm said there would be new sources of information available to influence EBVs, including molecular genetic information, including disease resistance traits for conditions such as footrot and meat quality traits.

“Using marker genes alongside conventional selection could accelerate genetic progress by between 10 and 30%.”

But these aren’t the only sources of information available to breeders, he explained.

“Making use of slaughterhouse data, particularly data derived from video-based grading could provide valuable information. Having a closer link between carcass payment schemes and breeding goals has to be beneficial.”