BOLT stands for Biometric Open Language Tool. BOLT is the technology behind our National Cattle Evaluation (NCE) from our partner International Genetic Solutions (IGS). The power and performance of BOLT is what allows statisticians to perform complex computations to large databases of information. IGS has almost 17 million animals in its database and seemingly countless data points in total. Just think, if every animal only had three phenotypic data point turned in that would be over 50 million points of data. If you include genomic information that number increases exponentially. Being able to process that much data is almost unfathomable. Now instead of bi-yearly NCE’s, we now have transitioned to weekly runs.
So why is it important to Chianina breeders?
Having access to the most current and relevant EPD’s is just one part of the equation. The EPD’s will be calculated every week and any new phenotypic data turned in will have an immediate impact on that animals EPD’s. More importantly is the advent of single step genomics. Previously, breed associations needed enough genomic samples to provide a training model to blend those results into the NCE. A good training model would have 10,000 genomic samples to evaluate and rank to allow other genotypes to be included. Honestly the ACA would never have been able to acquire the necessary number or samples to ever have a good training model, but the new single step model doesn’t need those extra steps. Through a complex model called Bayesian Regression Model genotypes can be incorporated in our NCE without the need for large number of genotypes.
What impact does this have on Chianina EPD’s?
The impact of BOLT has been very minimal in terms of reranking cattle. Many animals will see some changes in their EPD profiles but as far as where they rank will remain mostly unchanged. The biggest impact will be on the accuracy side of the EPD’s. Many of the industry professionals agree that the single step method is a more accurate portrayal of EPD accuracy. One of the keys to this is that while the accuracies tend to be lower, the windows of acceptable change are much tighter.
When will genotypes be incorporated in the NCE?
We are in the process of working with Geneseek and other industry partners to establish a pipeline from the genotyping companies to IGS. The ACA is going to work with Geneseek to include genotypes that were submitted to Igenity. We will also work to include any other genotypes from other companies in the future.
When are the new EPD’s published?
The EPD’s are updated every Sunday. The database is uploaded to IGS on Wednesday. It takes a few days to process the information from 11 other cattle breeds. This also means that if you submit performance information on Monday, you can see how this would affect your EPD’s on Sunday. This short turnaround time will allow breeders to access the most current EPD’s when making breeding selections and cowherd decisions.
What are some of the negative effects of this?
One of the major drawbacks to weekly NCE runs is that printed EPD’s will be out of date before anyone receives them in the mail. However, unless new phenotypic data is submitted the change to the EPD’s will be very minimal. Each weekly run will be dated and that can also be printed as a reminder to you and your customers that the numbers were current for a given time period.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns we would be happy to take your call. Please call the ACA office at 816-431-2808.