Shorgene – IGS

Shorgene - IGS


In 2019, Shorthorn Beef became the first breed society in Australia to offer the full suite of EPD’s calculated by International Genetic Solutions (IGS), the worlds largest multibreed genetic evaluation.

Whilst, the Shorthorn Beef move to IGS has been well publicised, with many now familiar with what IGS is, there has always been more to the concept than just the IGS evaluation. Overarching all these various elements, is the new brand ShorGene.

ShorGene is essentially a replacement for the old Shorthorn Beef Group Breedplan badge and as such is not a separate entity from Shorthorn Beef in anyway, however there are several new concepts that the ShorGene brand will represent.

ShorGene represents new methodologies for the same problems. As with any move to a new system, like changing from a John Deere to a Fendt tractor for example, there are new opportunities to be explored and explained. Once you look under the new paint colour though, it is just about solving the same problems in a slightly different way.


Increasing the productivity and profitability of cattle producers, in a rapidly evolving Australian Beef industry, is our primary goal. Genetic inputs have become increasingly critical to building long-term success within the modern Australian Beef supply chain.
Traditionally though, genetic tools, techniques and the knowledge that comes with it, have been the domain of the seedstock industry where breed societies have often preached what amounts to religion over science.
This has led many in the supply chain to believe that both the breed society culture and the demands on genetic systems to meet the future supply chains needs, are no longer fully compatible.

ShorGene is a new pathway for genetic improvement across the Australian beef industry. Based on a unique collaborative approach and designed to deliver the best possible genetic outcomes, driven by science to deliver profitability for the purebred and crossbred commercial beef producer.

Backed by the world’s largest and most powerful genetic evaluation, ShorGene offers modern solutions to driving increased profitability for our primary customer; commercial cattlemen.

“The move by Shorthorn Beef to IGS is simply an outgrowth of listening to commercial cattleman and the supply chain.”


ShorGene is backed the worlds most powerful multibreed genetic evaluation system, IGS and BOLT.

More than just a Shorthorn evaluation platform, IGS provides a genuine platform for evaluation of crossbred and composite cattle.

This makes sense, after all Shorthorns are arguably the most complementary breed in the world, forming the base of over 40 breeds worldwide. Few breeds if any, offer the opportunities for crossbreeding that the Shorthorn breed offers, whether that is for maternal traits, growth traits or carcase quality, Shorthorns excel in crossbred and composite programs.

Having the capacity to measure not only Shorthorn cattle, but Shorthorn cross cattle as well, is tremendously important as breeders work to deliver the best genetic components to increase profitability for commercial cattlemen.


IGS is a collaboration between sixteen progressive breed associations and Neogen US, that have put aside traditional competitive breed society concepts, to work together to deliver an unprecedented genetic evaluation for beef cattle. No other evaluation in the world has more data than the IGS partners can bring.

For Shorthorn breeders, one of the key benefits will be that IGS provides a single base of comparison for Shorthorn cattle in Australia, in USA and Canada.

EPD’s on Shorthorn cattle from all 3 countries will be directly comparable to each other, whilst Rank % will only refer to the individual countries animals. Shorthorns from the three countries have in total 1,737,457 animals in the IGS evaluation. This move provides Shorthorn breeders with incredible access to the largest possible global gene pool for selection.

Key to this is that across the 3 Shorthorn countries represented in IGS there are currently 101,280 Shorthorn linkage progeny. This provides connectivity for the Shorthorn populations evaluated through IGS.
Importantly though, for a multibreed system, across the IGS evaluation there are 38,442 common animals that are in both the Shorthorn populations and in other breeds populations. These animals have 2,136,759 linkage progeny, which provides tremendous linkage for the Shorthorn breed to the rest of the IGS partners.

Data is the lifeblood of genetic evaluation systems. For medium sized breeds such as Shorthorns, operating as islands makes it very hard to get to a critical mass. It also makes it harder to find the resources needed to build improved systems when we all work separately. Combining resources gives breeders access to not only greater data pools, but also allows them to work collaboratively to build the best tools possible for both seedstock and commercial breeders to make selections.


IGS utilises BOLT, a new system for processing mega data, that allows the IGS evaluation to extract more value from genotypes.

Currently there are now over 7,000 Shorthorn genotypes in IGS, from Australia, Canada and USA, which underpins genomics for Shorthorn breeders.

More Australian genotypes will be needed to further improve the accuracy of genomic predictions for Australian Shorthorn cattle, however the relationship with IGS and IGS partners, Neogen, means that Shorthorn Beef will be able to offer significantly discounted GGP-50K panels to members for both maternal and carcase traits, under the Shorthorn brand.

Called the Moove Program, the collaborative research program between Neogen Australasia and Shorthorn Beef will see the breed work to collect several thousand genotypes over the next 3 years and underpin the most accurate possible predictions for Shorthorns in the future.


Limiting genetic evaluation to seedstock herds, also severely limits the systems ability to capture volumes of both phenotypes and genotypes, which therefore limits the evaluation. However, capturing data also requires a structured platform, for the information to be valuable to any analysis.

This has been limiting in the past, in part because the level of collaboration across a fragemented supply chain has reduced participation. However, new objective measurement tools for carcase quality and quantity and new feedback information to suppliers, coupled with the pressure on maternal efficiency which is highlighted by variable seasons and also ever tightening specifications from branded beef programs, has motivated the supply chain to collaborate for improved genetic gain across the supply chain.

Providing platforms that allow commercial producers to participate in genetic evaluation in a structred way is the key fundamental for the ShorGene Satellite Program. Far from just a tool for larger seedstock herds, the satellite concept allows smaller seedstock herds to expand their ability to progeny test their best, assisting them to create genetic gain at an accelerated pace. Given the cost structures around IGS and the CGen software platform, ShorGene will be able to provide innovative solutions at little cost to satellite herds.