Choosing traits when selecting bulls

The generation of breeding goals can help producers to address on-farm challenges they may be facing, while also creating opportunities to strengthen productivity and profitability in their herds.

Therefore, it’s crucial for producers to understand how Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) can align with their breeding goals when choosing the right sire to fit their business.

Selecting sires that carry the right traits for a particular operation can lead to increased fertility, access to new markets, and faster turn-off in a herd, among many other profit-driving improvements.

MLA has recently released a new suite of videos on its Genetics hub that explain the different EBVs available and the potential benefits these can have on a herd’s performance.

The table below outlines some of the on-farm challenges, types of breeding goals and EBV selection traits available to producers through MLA’s BREEDPLAN database, and explains how these traits align to breeding objectives.

The on-farm business challenges or opportunities

The type of breeding goals

Available EBV selection traits

Link to video

Fertility and calving ease traits

Improving reproductive performance of the cow herd

Getting cows in calf every yearReducing days to calvingDays to calving
Produce females that are pubertal as yearlings

Reduce days to calving

Increase scrotal circumference in males

Days to calving

Scrotal circumference

Dystocia in first calving heifersIncrease calving ease

Calving ease direct (terminal sire)

Calving ease of daughters (self- replacing herd)

Birth weight

Carcase traits

Carcase and eating quality traits help improve the yield and quality of the carcases produced

Carcases are too lean at slaughterIncrease fatness

Rib fat

Rump fat

Carcases are out of spec for weightIncrease carcase weight and muscling

Carcase weight

Eye muscle area

Retail beef yield

Meeting consumer expectationsImprove MSA index

Intramuscular fat

Weight traits

Weight traits can be used to improve growth and control mature cow weight

Turning steers off earlier

Improve weight for age

(reduce ossification)

200-day weight

400-day weight

Mature cows are too big

Maintain mature cow size

Mature cow weight

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