The Midline Angus Vision and Objective

"The Native Origin Angus are on the critically endangered list"
-Quote from the Rare Breeds Survival Trust Watch list, Spring 2009

The original bloodlines of the Aberdeen Angus have nearly gone extinct and have been reduced to only a few remaining bloodlines, that have not been genetically altered. Market pressures of the past half century, along with selection for what seemed viable concerns of the time, has caused the cattle industry to ironically move away from some of the genetic advantages of this original Scottish cattle. The unsurpassed thrift and ability of the original Aberdeen Angus to convert second class forage into high quality beef without any additional supplementation, has now made full circle to the wisdom of the early Scottish breeders. We have found what has been described as nine of the last pure cow family lines in Scotland, as well as a relic population in New Zealand, along with recent discoveries of vintage semen tested viable after fifty years! Our efforts are focused on producing Aberdeen Angus cattle from these historic bloodlines and from others yet to be discovered and recovered.

  1. What is the Midline Angus Association?
    The Midline Angus Association was formed to protect, restore and promote the genetic advantage inherent in the original Scottish type Aberdeen Angus cattle. These select cattle are referred to as Midline Angus and Heritage Midline Angus.

  2. What are Midline Angus and what is their necessary niche?
    Many in the modern cattle industry consider moderate sized cattle better balanced in a sustainable grass based forage environment, therefore the name Midline suggests moderation between the size extremes, now present in the Angus cattle community. The Midline retains the forage efficiency of the Lowline and combines it with the Native Origin Angus and/or modern American Angus lines while maintaining both the purity of the Angus Breed for the seed stock producer and providing a larger and more marketable cut of beef for the local market.

  3. What are Heritage Midline Angus cattle?
    They are the restoration and recognition of the original Scottish type Aberdeen Angus. This goal has now become a reality, by using the genetics from the original Scottish type Aberdeen Angus not having any American Angus influence since 1968, and also using cattle from “closed herds” of American Angus, that are known for not having any outside herd influence since 1968 or earlier. The use of vintage sires born on or before 1968 has also become part of this recovery. These genetic resources are then bred with the most overlooked and greatest source of Original Scottish type Aberdeen Angus genetics. It could be said that this source was hidden in plain sight and it is the Australian Lowline cattle. The Australian Lowline Cattle were developed from the Angus herd which was established at the Trangie Research Centre in 1929 to provide quality breeding stock for the New South Wales cattle industry and are the original Scottish type Aberdeen Angus, providing an excellent parent source for Heritage Midline Angus.

  4. Can American Angus not from ‘closed herds’ be considered as Heritage Angus?Although very challenging the answer is yes, with the following clarification; all Midline and Heritage Midline Angus must have a complete DNA profile including parent verification. Because the American Angus Association has not always required DNA or scientific verification of parentage and in many cases the lineage can no longer be practically and scientifically verified, thus the distinction between Midline and Heritage Midline. Discovery of viable vintage semen that is over fifty years old has been recovered by some of our members. The discovery and recovery of vintage semen is highly encouraged. Angus cattle from vintage sires born in the year 1968 or earlier or from cattle DNA verified as directly coming from vintage sires may be considered as Heritage Angus. All vintage semen and cattle attested as the progeny of vintage sires must have a DNA profile verified by UCDavis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory and submitted to the Association.

  5. Can all progeny of the Midline or Heritage Midline Angus be registered?
    The Midline Angus Association is strictly a full blood Angus registry and does not allow breeding up from other cattle breeds. Progeny developed as indicated in the ‘Midline Angus Breeding Methodology and Definitions’ and the ‘Midline Angus Breeding Chart’ may be submitted for registration with the Association.

  6. Is Parent DNA test verification required for all progeny?
    Yes.

  7. Are red colored cattle permitted in the Midline Angus Association?
    Yes. 
    All progeny shall be DNA verified for parentage and coat color. Some Heritage Angus family lines have the red gene. To select for red or black coated animals is a producer’s prerogative and will be upheld by the Association. 

  8. When and why is coat color DNA testing required?
    Because breeders of both red and black coated cattle place preference on coat color, the association makes DNA coat color testing mandatory, with the results indicated on the registration certificates.
    1. All parent stock must be registered with the Midline Angus Association with their coat color clearly indicated on the cattle registration or present DNA test or ISAG report indicating coat color with the following exception: In the event that the parent is unavailable for color testing, then the progeny may be tested and recorded instead.
    2. All black coated progeny having a heterozygous black/red parent must be DNA tested for color. The color code: RGC (red gene carrier) for black individuals carrying a red gene will be listed on the cattle registration. Presently the Association does not differentiate from the Dominate Black individual (carrier of the wild type allele) or the Dominate Black (carrier of the recessive red), but treats them the same on the registration certificates. If a breeder desires further information to make breeding decisions, then a DNA test report number originating from UCDavis testing laboratories is listed on any given registration certificate.

  9. Is coat color DNA testing always required?
    If both parents are recorded as homozygous black, then the progeny is and must be homozygous black (no color DNA testing required). The color code: BLK for homozygous black will be listed on the cattle registration. For further clarification refer to the ’Color Inheritance Chart’ found in the ‘Midline Angus Breeding Methodology and Definitions’.

  10. What is the purpose of the generation scoring system?
    The purpose of the generation scoring system is to develop a consistent and moderate sized breeder that retains the inherent forage capability and efficiency that made the original Angus famous worldwide. This is accomplished by breeding the progeny of fullblood Lowline Angus crossed with the larger Angus and then continue the breeding of their progeny with each other. Each successive generation being selected for moderation, forage capability and performance. The generation score increases at double the value of the parent with the lowest generation score. Although some first generation crosses will actually outperform animals with higher generation scores and some scores may appear lower when in fact the breeding plan for their development may actually have a better performance for particular traits, it is the intention of this system to produce stability and consistence. Refer to the ‘Midline Angus Breeding Methodology and Definitions’ and the ‘Midline Angus Breeding Chart’.

  11. What is the significance of a generation score 8 animal?
    An animal registered as a generation score 8 (Certified) verifies an animal as the progeny of several generations of cattle selected for moderation and the ability to finish on grass. In order for cattle to qualify as a generation score 8 (Certified), it must be measured at twelve months of age or older for girth, length, weight and frame score, with their measurements submitted to the association for certification. Midline or Heritage Midline Angus cannot be listed on the “Certification of Pedigree” as a generation score 8 (Certified) unless their frame scores are between 1 and 5. In the unlikely event that a generation score 8 animal is outside these measurement guidelines, it will be allowed registration and listed on the “Certification of Pedigree” as generation score 8 (Un-Certified). Animals that are generation score 8 (Un-Certified), are allowed for breeding, however they are outside the association guidelines for moderation and should be used cautiously.

  12. Can a generation score 8 animal be registered before one year?
    Cattle younger than one year of age may still be registered as generation score 8 (Certification Pending)until such measurements can be provided to the Association at one year of age or older. Generation score 8 (Certification Pending) are not allowed to register progeny until their measurements are submitted for association review and a new certificate is issued. Except in the case of sales and transfers, most producers will elect to postpone measurement and registration until one year or older to avoid a second registration fee.

  13. Can animals be measured and certified before the generation score 8 level?
    Although not mandatory until the ML8 or HML8 generation score level, all cattle can be measured and certified at levels lower than ML8 or HML8. In fact measurement certification at the lower generation score levels is encouraged. The measurement certification will be acknowledged on the animal’s registration certificate.

  14. If Midline Angus are bred with Heritage Midline Angus, what registry will they be in?
    They would be registered as Midline Angus at twice the generation score of the parent with the lowest score.

  15. Can Midline Bulls with generation scores less than ML8 be used for breeding?
    Yes. The MAA has revised the “Midline Breeding Methodology” to allow all generation levels of Midline bulls to be used for breeding in the same way that the Heritage Midline bulls are used.

Highlands of Scotland