Recognition for beef cattle herd

Trangie herd
NSW DPI's Tom Snelgar, Karen Dibley and Robert Herd accept the commemorative plaque for the Trangie herd from Peter Grieves, President of Angus Australia.

NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) beef cattle research herd at Trangie - internationally renowned for its role in high calibre, innovative research - has received official recognition for a remarkable milestone in its own history.

With 75 years of continual membership of the Australian Angus Society, the Trangie herd joins an elite group of only seven organisations to have notched up this record and the only government herd to achieve the status.

A celebration to acknowledge the occasion was held as part of the Society’s annual general meeting in Sydney recently when President of Angus Australia, Peter Grieves, presented a commemorative plaque to NSW DPI researcher Robert Herd, who heads the research at Trangie.

Mr Grieves said Trangie cattle now stand alongside such historic names in the Angus world as Abington, Bald Blair, Beltrees, and Booroomooka.

“This is an outstanding achievement for the Trangie herd which has been an important contributor to the progress of the Angus breed with research work in the areas of performance recording, and the development of Breedplan estimated breeding values including net feed intake and progeny testing,” he said.

“The Angus society is indebted to the various governments that have wisely chosen to continue with the Trangie Angus herd for 75 years, as well as the many departmental staff who have used their skills and expertise to generate outcomes that have been of enormous benefit to the breed.”

Dr Herd said the investment in the herd over many years had allowed the department to undertake major research projects which would never have been possible with individual producers.

Established in 1929 with the importation of foundation stock from Canada and subsequent imports from the USA and Scotland until 1956, the Trangie herd was subsequently closed in 1963 when research into the role of performance recording commenced.

From 1974 to 1992 selection for yearling growth rate was evaluated with three closed lines: a High and Low growth line, and a Control line.   These lines were subsequently used to evaluate key components of herd productivity, with the results providing key parameters to underpin the BREEDPLAN system.

During the evaluation it became apparent that large differences existed in feed consumed per kilogram of calf weaned in the Trangie lines,” according to Dr Herd. 

“This led to a major project conducted from 1993 to 2001 which showed that genetic variation in feed efficiency could be selected for to produce more feed-efficient cattle,” he said. 

“Unique lines of high and low efficiency Angus cattle were created and have been central to the research conducted by the Beef Co-Operative Research Centres (Beef CRC) since 1996.

“In 2005 divergent selection for high and low feed efficiency re-commenced to enable new research projects within the Beef CRC on gene discovery, maternal productivity and methane abatement.”

The Angus Society Elite Sire Progeny Test Program was conducted at Trangie between 2001 and 2005 when elite young Angus sires were artificially inseminated to Trangie cows and their progeny evaluated for traits influencing the profitability of beef production.

Further information can be obtained from Dr Herd at NSW DPI’s Beef Industry Centre at Armidale: 02 6770 1808.