Interbull Business Meeting Minutes

La Cité Nantes Events Center (Nantes, France) August 23, 16:00-18:00 and August 25, 14:00-15:30

First Business Meeting (August 23, 2013)

1. Opening

Reinhard Reents, Interbull chairman, opened the meeting welcoming everybody to the first Interbull business meeting and thanking the organizers for their great work. This year is a special year for the Interbull community as it turns 30 years of activity. The chairman briefly presented the program of the following days: two business meetings, one and a half day for the open meeting with very interesting presentations and a Steering Committee meeting which will then conclude the Interbull meeting.

2. Adoption of agenda

The agenda was adopted in its entirety, no other matters arised.

  1. Opening
  2. Adoption of agenda
  3. Interbull Centre annual report
    1. Activities
    2. Work plans
    3. Financial Accounts
  4. ITC report
  5. SAC report
  6. Intergenomics report
  7. Nomination of SC and SAC members
  8. GMACE (technical report)
    1. Method overview
    2. Results overview
  9. GMACE (services)
    1. Concept of implementation run
    2. Rules for participation
    3. Funding model
    4. Synchronization of MACE and GMACE runs
    5. Truncated MACE
  10. New service contracts
  11. Publication policy
  12. Status on IDEA database
    1. EBV module
    2. Survey on format change
  13. Strategic plan
  14. International genotype exchange repository
  15. Future Events
    1. Calendar for upcoming meetings
    2. Calendar for routine and test runs 2013-2015
  16. Other Matters

3. Interbull Center Annual Report

3ab. Activities & Work plans

The Interbull Centre director, João Dürr, presented the Interbull Centre activity report from June 2012 to August 2013 as well as the plans for the year to come. The full report can be viewed at this LINK.

He also congratulated all the participants for the important milestone reached by the Interbull community: 30 years of activity. To celebrate this remarkable date, the Interbull Center has prepared a photo blog with information about the organization, about the pioneers and collaborators and about past events.

3c. Financial Accounts

Erling Strandberg, Interbull Centre Secretary, presented the financial report and budgets, which can be verified in the annual report.

Brian Van Doormaal, delegate from Canada, expressed his concern about the high overheads costs: although Interbull Centre benefits from being located within SLU through the grants that it receives, the high office rent and overheads overcome the benefit of receiving the SLU grants. Consideration should be given to the possibility of the Interbull Centre becoming independent from SLU or finding a way to compensate the high overhead costs due to its affiliation with SLU.

Erling explained that a discussion is currently going on with the SLU central administration trying to make them understand that Interbull Center cannot be considered as a faculty body but as a service provider and underlying all the benefits that SLU itself gets from hosting the centre. Although they have not reached a decision they are anyhow willing to consider exceptions for the overheads that will led to a decrease in their costs and to provide more grants to Interbull Centre for its role as EU reference laboratory.

Reinhard Reents also commented that the Steering Committee will provide an official letter to Erling and João to be presented at the Central administration. He also reminded the audience that Interbull Centre's employees are SLU employees, which is important an important factor regarding liability of the services.

Daniel Gianola, from USA, reminded that although Interbull Center is a service provider it also gathers strength from being within an academic environment.

4. ITC report

Gert Aamand summarized the discussion during the first Interbull Technical Committee (ITC) meeting, which was held earlier during the day. Two working groups were formed during the last year: one on GMACE and the other on post-processing of correlations. It is the recommendation of the technical committee that post-process of correlations be applied to all traits evaluated by Interbull, including conformation. For conformation traits Holstein priors should be used for non-Holstein breeds, all correlations lower than 0,3 should be set to the minimum allowed value of 0,3. The Interbull Center should inform the countries when low correlations are changed into the minimum allowed value. All minimum and maximum values applied to other traits during post-processing of correlations should be reviewed at the next Technical meeting which will be held in Berlin next year. About the pilot run for Mendelian sampling validation (Method IV)the committee will wait for the Interbull Center to provide more details on a possible schedule.

Reinhard Reents thanked Gert for his report and for being the chairman of the ITC.

Brian Van Doormaal wondered about the decision of the minimum correlation values of 0,3 for conformation traits, is it because 0,3 is the lowest correlation value estimated for Holstein? Gert explained that the reason for different min/max values for conformation compared to the other traits was mostly due to the fact that traits with different definitions are evaluated together. The value of 0,3 will be applied to all linear traits.

9de. Synchronization of MACE and GMACE runs & Truncated MACE

João Dürr presented a scheme for synchronization of MACE and GMACE only for test runs. In this proposal, conventional and validation data are sent at the same time by countries. When correlations are ready countries need to inform the Center if they are willing to introduce the changes tested or not. If YES the test run results are used also for the GMACE, if NOT previous results are used for GMACE. The scenario proposed might look a bit complex and complicated due to the fact that the two service's results are dependent from each other. In matters of time the proposed scenario implies that:

The proposed schedule is quite tight due to the upcoming of the April first routine evaluation after the January test run. The benefit of applying such synchronization is that results would be comparable and countries will benefit from using foreign information in their national evaluation.

Brian Van Doormaal thanked João for the nice initiative and time allocated to study such scheme, it is a positive signal that Interbull Center defines exact times for receiving/sending of data. He also wondered if there would be different deadlines for submission of data and pedigree for MACE and GMACE and if the truncated MACE would be performed only once per year, João explained that would be the case: different deadlines for sending data for MACE and GMACE and truncated MACE done once per year during January test run.
João's recommendation to countries planning to test severe changes would be to participate in the January 2014 test run.

7. Nomination of SC and SAC members

Erling Strandberg reported that the following Steering Committee members end their mandate this year: Juraj Candrák, Brian Van Doormaal, Marjorie Faust, Bevin Harris and therefore a new election is needed. The names indicated by the respective regions were: Maria Klopcic (Slovenia), Daniel Abernethy (Australia), Brian Van Doormaal (Canada, re-election), Marjorie Faust (USA, re-election).

Reinhard Reents explained the process to the audience: the audience is welcome to suggest other names, at the end the suggested names will be sent to the ICAR board which will make it official. No other names were suggested by the audience.

Georgios Banos asked to be released from his role of convener of the Scientific Advisory Group. The role was offered to Vincent Ducrocq, who accepted. The SAC is now formed by Vincent Ducrocq, Mike Goddard and Daniel Gianola, a new member needs to be invited by the SC and suggestions for names are open and welcome.
Reinhard Reents thanked Georgios Banos for his significant contribution to the Interbull community not only as the SAC convener, but also as the first Interbull Centre director and long time collaborator.

8. GMACE (technical report)

Reinhard reviewed the past history and decision that led to the GMACE project. The status as for January 2013 was that all countries having GEBV in place nationally were interested in participating and using GMACE results.

8a. Method overview

Pete Sullivan presented the latest developments on the GMACE methodology: international reliabilities lower than national ones and GMACE variance estimation.

Papers discussing the proposals in detail are available at

Reinhard thanked Pete for the presentation and his dedication to the project.

Daniel Gianola commented on the method for aligning the reliabilities: as we cannot be sure that national reliabilities are calculated correctly, and therefore maybe even international reliabilities might be wrong, why the need to align them? Pete explained that the main reason was on the conceptual idea that if no extra information is added for a given bull, i.e. no foreign information is available, then what was coming out from GMACE should be in line with what was provided by the country of origin and hence the need for international reliability to be higher or at least equal to the national reliability but not lower as it could be the case before this adjustment.

8b. Results overview

Jette Jakobsen presented the editing rules for incoming and outgoing GEBVs in GMACE.
Alfred de Vries asked what would be the recommended methodology to estimate the national reliabilities. Pete explained that what presented was not a replacement methodology. National centers are still responsible to provide correct estimation of reliability. What was presented was simply an example to show the impact of re-ranking due to changes in national reliability.
Brian Van Doormaal had a comment about the summary of past decisions for GMACE. He explained that the change in publication rules which obliged a country submitting GEBV to publish GMACE results while a country not submitting GEBV was not obliged to publish GMACE results was the main reason why Canada decided not to participate in the August implementation run. He underlined the importance to establish confidence also for other countries in the GMACE results and this can be only achieved by publishing the results.
Gerben de Jong highlighted the importance to have accurate international reliabilities. Stefan Rensing agreed with Sophie Mattalia that if a country participates in a service than it must be obliged to publish the results.

Reinhard Reents closed the first business meeting, thanked everybody for participating and reminded the audience that the next business meeting would be held on Sunday afternoon.

Second Business Meeting (August 25, 2013)

The SC chairman, Reinhard Reents, opened the second business meeting and thanked all authors for the high quality of the presentations during the Open sessions.

The agenda items that were not covered in the first business meeting were items 5, 6, 9 (a, b, c, e), and 10 to 16.

5. SAC report

Georgios Banos presented his last report as SAC convener. The written report is available at SAC Report 2013.

6. Intergenomics report

The chairman of the Intergenomics management committee, Enrico Santus, presented a proposal called "Intergenomics 2.0", implying that the cooperation for genomic evaluations for BSW populations is ready to start a new phase, with significant changes in the terms of the partnership. The main changes would be:


GMACE occupied a central place in the discussions during the business meetings in Nantes. In order to understand how Interbull service users see the GMACE developments, the SC conducted a quick poll among the delegates present to the meeting between the first and the second business meetings. The summary of the answers is given in Table 1. Results indicated to the SC that the proposed publication policy needs to be more flexible and better understood by the users, that financing GMACE should include both countries with and without national genomic evaluation systems and that most importing countries are interested in receiving GMACE results in their own scale.

Table 1. Summary of the answers to the poll conducted among the delegates regarding GMACE business rules. Results expressed as number of respondents (% of respondents).

Question 1

Question 2

Question 3

According to the proposed publication rules, all populations participating in MACE evaluations will receive results from GMACE evaluations, regardless of having contributed national GEBVs, and are supposed to make these results publicly available in their own scale. Regarding this business rule you:

According to the proposed financial model, only organizations submitting data (national GEBVs) to the GMACE evaluations will be required to pay the associated fees. Regarding this business rule you:

If your organization is not yet offering genomic evaluations:

Fully agree with the proposal

10 (37%)

9 (33%)

Could accept the proposal

10 (37%)

9 (33%)

Disagree with the proposal

7 (26%)

9 (33%)

The breeders in your country want to rank foreign young bulls on your own scale.

8 (73%)

The breeders in your country prefer to use genomic evaluations in foreign scales.

3 (27%)

Not applicable


10. New service contracts

The proposed new service contract between service users and the Interbull Centre had been previously announced to be adopted by December 2013. However, given the ongoing discussions about GMACE evaluations, the Interbull Centre did not send out a contractual 6 months notice to the service users and therefore the adoption of the new contract is postponed.

11. Publication policy

The Guidelines for minimum requirements for advertising genetic merit of dairy animals (Interbull Code of Practice – Appendix V) approved by the SC in April 2013 were discussed.

Reinhard Reents thanked all manifestations and concluded that the SC will take them into consideration.

12a. Status of IDEA database - EBV module

Valentina Palucci presented the plans for introducing the EBV module of the Interbull Data Exchange Area (IDEA) during the September 2013 test run.

12b. Survey on format change

João Dürr presented the results of a survey conducted among service users about the possibility of adopting XML file formats in file exchanges among users and the Interbull Centre. The XML formats present a number of advantages over fixed file formats, but the survey showed that users are reluctant to adopt such a change and that more information is need before any decision is taken in that direction.

15. Future events

Reinhard Reents invited the participants to the 2014 ICAR/Interbull Conference in Berlin, Germany, on behalf of the local organizers. Filippo Miglior invited all for the 2014 WCGALP, to be held in Vancouver, Canada - August 17-22, 2014.

16. Other matters


Jan Philipsson was invited by the SC to speak about Georgios Banos contribution to Interbull as the first Interbull Centre Director and as the convener of the SAC from 2003-2013. A diploma in recognition to his contribution was handled to Georgios by the Interbull chairman, Reinhard Reents, and the Interbull Secretary, Erling Strandberg.

Juraj Candrak and Bevin Harris also received diplomas in recognition to their contribution as members of the Steering Committee.

The whole audience demonstrated gratitude to the honorees with a round of applause.

Remaining agenda items

Due to time restriction, items 13 and 14 of the agenda could not be covered and information about these topics will be made available by other means.

public/BM_Nantes2013 (last edited 2014-05-14 13:22:31 by João)