Breeding Economy and Ecoweight Programme

Master departmentGenetics and Breeding of Farm Animals
PDF Info Card web_karta_ekonomika_2021_05_en-2
Description

Program package ECOWEIGHT

Authors:

Jochen Wolf† (j-m-wolf@gmx.de)

Marie Wolfová (j-m-wolf@gmx.de)

Emil Krupa (krupa.emil@vuzv.cz)

Zuzana Krupová (krupova.zuzana@vuzv.cz)

Eliška Žáková (zakova.eliska@vuzv.cz)

 

Brief description of the software package

The ECOWEIGHT software package is intended for the calculation of economic weights (EW) for a complex of production, reproduction, health, slaughter and other traits of livestock. Currently, programs are available for: beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep (goats), pigs and rabbits.

  • The first part of the package consists of two programs, namely for beef cattle (EWBC) and for dairy cattle (EWDC). Based on developments in breeding and user impulse, cattle programs have been gradually updated and expanded for the new traits (most recently in 2020).
  • In the second part of the package there is a separate program EWSH1 for breeding dairy and meat sheep with the possibility of modeling lambing once a year. This program can also be used for goat populations.
  • The third part of the software package is also dedicated to sheep. It consists of the EWSH2 program, which is a modification of EWSH1, and the GFSH program, which makes it possible to model gene flow in sheep. Because EWSH2 and GFSH work together, they are listed in a common installation package.
  • The fourth part of the package consists of programs for calculating the EW of traits in pigs – EWPIG / EWPIG2 and a gene flow in pigs – GFPIG. Both programs were updated in 2020 with the aim of extending the calculation of EW for new traits of boar and sow reproduction.
  • So far, the last is EWRAB – a program for calculating the traits EW in rabbits, which was created in 2019.

 

In all programs included in the ECOWEIGHT package, the basic principle is a comprehensive and a specific consideration (modelling) of various production systems and marketing strategies applied in the breeding of a given breed of livestock. The algorithm of all programs includes both deterministic and stochastic principles. The level of most traits is therefore simulated as a mean value (average); however, the variability (variance) of a large number of traits is also taken into account. All programs are described in detail in the manuals.

The herd (flock) structure is described based on the occurrence of individual animals’ categories (purebreds or hybrids) and the probability of transition between these categories. The Markov chain methodology is used to calculate the stationary state of the herd structure. The herd structure is imputed into the calculation of variables related to production and nutrient requirements for all animal categories. All costs and revenues of each category and profit of the entire production system are also calculated by the program. The traits EW are calculated as partial derivation of the profit function with respect to the trait level.

Taking into account the gene flow methodology, EW for the maternal and direct traits or trait component, as well as for the different selection pathways can be calculated. Calculation of relative EWs allows to compare the EWs of the evaluated traits. EW are calculated for a complex of production, reproductive, health, slaughter traits and feed efficiency traits (exact number of traits is given program description). The traits are defined to take into account the variability in which they are expressed and thus evaluated in different populations and production systems over the world.

 

Primarily, EWs are intended to be used in construction of selection indices, which are focused to evaluate the breeding animals. At present, selection indices for the population of the Holstein breed (eg Krupová et al., 2018, 2019) and for the Aberdeen Angus beef breed in the Czech Republic (e.g. Krupová et al., 2020) are constructed on the basis of the EW calculation by the ECOWEIGHT program. In addition, programs are useful for economic analysis of various production systems, where it is possible to analyse the impact of production, organizational and economic parameters on the system and production efficiency (e.g. Krupová et al., 2018). In terms of international use, the dairy cattle program is the most successful – it has been applied to cattle populations in almost 15 countries (e.g. Finland, France, Italy, Estonia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Brazil).

 

The first publications describing the basic assumptions applied when constructing programs and their practical application are listed below. The latest (current) publications using the ECOWEIGHT package programs are listed in the section: https://vuzv.cz/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Ekonomika_2018.pdf. In addition, the following reviews concerning the trait EW calculation have been published:

Krupová Z., Oravcová M., Krupa E., Peškovičová D. (2008): Methods for calculating economic weights of important traits in sheep. Review article. Slovak J. Anim. Sci., 41: 24-29.

Wolfová M., Wolf J. (2013): Strategies for defining traits when calculating economic values for livestock breeding: a review. Animal, 7: 1-13.

Krupová Z., Krupa E., Zavadilová L., Kašná E., Žáková E. (2020): Current challenges for trait economic values in animal breeding. Czech J Anim Sci, 65(12): 454-462.

 

Software package: part 1

The first part of the package consists of two programs, for beef cattle (EWBC) and for dairy cattle (EWDC). Using the programs it is possible to model several types of grazing systems for beef cattle without limiting the amount of production and dairy production systems using terminal crossbreeding with beef cattle. It is also possible to model purebred dairy production systems without terminal crossing and without limiting the amount of production, or with limiting the production of milk and milk fat (quotas). In the programs, it is possible to choose the number and timing of feeding seasons and for EWBC also the date of calving during the year. In total, it is possible to calculate the EW for 33 traits of beef cattle and 52 traits of dairy cattle.

 

Wolfová M., Nitter G. (2004). Relative economic weights of maternal versus direct traits in breeding schemes. Livest. Prod. Sci. 88, 117-127.

Krupa E., Wolfová M., Peškovičová D., Huba J., Krupová Z. (2005): Economic values of traits for Slovakian Pied cattle under different marketing strategies. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 50: 483-492.

Wolfová M., Wolf J., Pribyl J., Zahradková R., Kica J. (2005a): Breeding objectives for beef cattle used in different production systems. 1. Model development. Livest. Prod. Sci. 95, 201-215.

Wolfová M., Wolf J., Zahradková R., Pribyl J., Dano J. , Krupa E., Kica J. (2005b): Breeding objectives for beef cattle used in different production systems. 2. Model application to production systems with the Charolais breed. Livest. Prod. Sci. 95, 217-230.

Wolfová M., Wolf J., Zahrádková R., Krupa E. (2005c). Impact of different economical and production circumstances on the relative importance of traits in beef cattle breeding. Zuchtungskunde, 77(1): 35–46.

Krupa E., Krupová Z., Daňo J., Huba J., Polák P., Tomka J., Hanusová E. (2007): Influence of different feedlot types on production and economic efficiency in Charolais breed. Slovak J. of  Anim. Sci., 40: 72-78.

Wolfová M., Wolf J., Kvapilík J., Kica J. (2007a). Selection for profit in cattle. I. Economic weights for purebred dairy cattle in the Czech Republic. J. Dairy Sci. 90, 2442-2455.

Wolfová M., Wolf J., Kvapilík J., Kica J. (2007b). Selection for profit in cattle. II. Economic weights for dairy and beef sires in crossing systems. J. Dairy Sci. 90, 2456-2467.

Krupová Z., Huba J., Daňo J., Krupa E., Oravcová M., Peškovičová D. (2009): Economic weights of production and functional traits in dairy cattle under a direct subsidy regime. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 54: 249–259.

Komlósi I., M. Wolfová, J. Wolf, B. Farkas, Z. Szendrei, B. Béri. (2010). Economic weights of production and functional traits for Holstein-Friesian cattle in Hungary. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, 127: 143–153.

Krupa E., Krupová Z., Oravcová M., Polák P., Tomka J. (2011): Economic importance of the traits for Slovak Pinzgau breed reared in dairy and cow-calf system. Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, Special Issue, University of Zagreb, 76: 255-258.

Hietala, P., M. Wolfová, J. Wolf, J. Kantanen, and J. Juga. (2014). Economic values of production and functional traits, including residual feed intake, in Finnish milk production. J. Dairy Sci. 97:1092–1106

 

Software package: part 2

The second part of the software package contains the EWSH1 program. It is a separate bio-economic model, which can be used to simulate the impact of the production and functional traits on economic efficiency and EWs of traits in a closed production system of sheep (purebred or with crossbreeding) with one lambing per year. Due to the similarity of sheep and goat production systems, it is possible to make full use of this program for this type of livestock. In total, it is possible to calculate the EW for 41 traits of sheep and goats (milk production, growth, carcass, functional properties and wool). These EWs are intended for setting the breeding goals.

Software package: part 3

The third part of the software package is also intended for sheep. It is distributed as a single installation package and includes the EWSH2 and GFSH programs. The EWSH2 program is based on the EWSH1 program, which has been extended by another production system including terminal crossing. Moreover, it was adapted to create a link with the GFSH program. The GFSH program models the gene flow in sheep breeding and enables the calculation of EWs for direct and maternal components of traits. Depending on the production system, one or more EWSH2 runs are required before the GFSH program can run itself. Therefore, the program is to include data transfer between different runs of the program

The third part of the software package is also intended for sheep. It is distributed as a single installation package and includes the EWSH2 and GFSH programs. The EWSH2 program is linked to the EWSH1 program. While EWSH1 is created as a stand-alone program, EWSH2 has been adapted to form a link with GFSH. The EWSH program models the gene flow in sheep breeding and enables the calculation of EWs for direct and maternal components of traits. Depending on the production system, one or more EWSH2 runs are required before running your own GFSH program. Therefore, the program is to include data transfer between different runs of the program.

Wolfová M., Wolf J., Krupová Z., Kica J. (2009a): Estimation of economic values for traits of dairy sheep: I. Model development. J. Dairy Sci. 92, 2183-2194.

Wolfová M., Wolf J., Krupová Z., Margetín M. (2009b): Estimation of economic values for traits of dairy sheep: II. Model application to a production system with one lambing per year. J. Dairy Sci. 92, 2195-2203.

Wolfová M., Wolf J., Milerski M. (2009c): Calculating economic values for growth and functional traits in non-dairy sheep. J. Anim. Breed. Genet. 126, 480-491.

Krupová Z., Wolfová M., Wolf J., Oravcová M., Margetín M., Peškovičová D., Krupa E., Daňo J. (2009): Economic Values for Dairy Sheep Breeds in Slovakia. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci., 22: 1693-1702.

Wolfová M., Wolf J., Milerski M. (2011a): Calculating economic weights for sheep sire breeds used in different breeding systems. J. Anim. Sci. 89, 1696-1711.

Wolfová M., Wolf J., Milerski M. (2011b): Economic weights of production and functional traits for Merinolandschaf, Romney, Romanov and Sumavska sheep in the Czech Republic. Small Rumin. Res. 99, 25-33.

Krupová Z., Wolfová M., Krupa E., Oravcová M., Daňo J., Huba J., Polák P. (2012): Impact of production strategies and animal performance on economic values of dairy sheep traits. Animal, 6: 440–448.

 

Software package: part 4

The EWPIG program forms the fourth part of the ECOWEIGHT program package. It allows the calculation the traits EWs for a production system with one breed, as well as for systems with two, three and four breed crossing. The calculated EW of traits take into account the proportions of genes from individual breeds or lines. The gene flow calculation for all of possible breed combinations is not yet implemented in this program.

GFPIG, together with EWPIG2, already calculates the real EWs of direct and maternal traits of pigs (or their components), which take into account the proportions of genes of individual breeds or lines and the timing of expected genetic changes (gene flow) of individual genotypes during the defined investment period in the relevant breeding system. EWPIG2 is an extension of EWPIG program. EWPIG2 can be running as a standalone program independently of GFPIG, or together with GFPIG. In total, it is possible to calculate the EW for 35 traits of pigs.

Wolfová M., Wolf J., Krupová Z., Krupa E., Žáková E. (2017): Estimation of economic values for traits of pig breeds in different breeding systems: I. Model development. Livestock Science. 2017, 205: 79–87.

Krupa E., Krupová Z., Wolfová M., Žáková E. (2017): Estimation of economic values for traits of pig breeds in different breeding systems: II. Model application to a three-way crossing system. Livestock Science. 2017, 205: 70–78.

Krupa E., Přibyl J., Krupová Z., Žáková E. (2017): Repro index in dam breeds of the Czech national breeding program. Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, 82(3): 245-248.

Wolfová M., Krupa E., Krupová Z., Žáková E. (2019): Economic weights of maternal and direct traits of pigs calculated by applying gene flow methods. Animal, 13, 6:1127-1136

Krupa E., Wolfová M., Krupová Z., Žáková E. (2019): Estimation of economic weights for number of teats and sperm quality traits in pigs. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, in press.

 

Software package: part 5

The bio-economic model of the EWRAB program makes it possible to model typical industrial production systems of rabbits (from purebred with a closed herd turnover, to commercial farms with terminal crossings). In context of the modeled production parameters, the specificity of the program is, among other things, the possibility of changing the live weight of does during their life and reproductive cycles. In total, EWs are calculated for 20 traits. The program was developed in 2019.

Krupová Z., Wolfová M., Krupa E., Volek Z. (2020): Economic values of rabbit traits in different production systems. Animal, 14(9): 1943-1951

 

Availability of the ECOWEIGHT programs and license terms

Please contact the program authors if you are interested to use the program, suggest some ideas for improving the program package and reporting an ambiguities or possible errors in the programs.

The programs are distributed under the terms of the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE.

Please pay particular attention to the following extract of the license conditions:

NO WARRANTY

  1. BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES PROVIDE THE PROGRAM “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS WITH YOU. SHOULD THE PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION.
  2. IN NO EVENT UNLESS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW OR AGREED TO IN WRITING WILL ANY COPYRIGHT HOLDER, OR ANY OTHER PARTY WHO MAY MODIFY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE THE PROGRAM AS PERMITTED ABOVE, BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR DAMAGES, INCLUDING ANY GENERAL, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE PROGRAM (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO LOSS OF DATA OR DATA BEING RENDERED INACCURATE OR LOSSES SUSTAINED BY YOU OR THIRD PARTIES OR A FAILURE OF THE PROGRAM TO OPERATE WITH ANY OTHER PROGRAMS), EVEN IF SUCH HOLDER OR OTHER PARTY HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.