In those branches of agriculture devoted to meat production, total food requirements of the industry are divided among two components: the growth and maintenance of the actual slaughter animals (steers, lambs, broilers), and the growth and maintenance of the reproductive population (cows, ewes,
 hatchery flocks). Selection for increased growth-rate of slaughter animals reduces food requirements by allowing a given market weight to be reached at an earlier age (reducing maintenance requirements), or by allowing a greater market weight to be reached at a given market age (reducing reproductive costs per unit product). Genetically, however, growth rate is tightly correlated with mature body weight (Kinney, 1969). As a result, selection for increased growth rate is generally accompanied by an increase in mature body weight. This increases total food requirements of the reproductive population and cancels part of the reduction in food requirements achieved by increased growth-rate.

Moshe Soller, T. Brody, Y. Eitan, T. Agursky

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 5. Plenary sessions, , 690–698, 1982
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