Before discussing the development of genetic evaluation systems it is worth noting some fundamental differences between the way beef is produced on different continents. In North America there is a clear division between the cow-calf producers who are responsible for selection decisions and other operators involved with 'finishing' cattle; widespread use is made of crossbreeding, and most animals are finished under an intensive feeding regime. In Europe beef production is mainly a by-product of the dairy industry, where calves are weaned early and fed intensively from a young age; limited use is made of crossbreeding. In Australia, most cattle are purebred or synthetic and finished by the breeder on pasture, although there are trends to the use of cross breeding and intensive feeding of cattle destined for high quality export markets. On all continents we find a relatively small, but highly influential, seedstock sector. It can be difficult to extend the idea and principles of genetic evaluation to parts of this sector who receive very high prices for breeding stock without any predictions of genetic merit. As production systems have developed in different ways we can expect genetic evaluation systems to do similarly.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 17. Genetics and breeding of dairy and beef cattle, swine and horses, , 173–179, 1994
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