Genetic variation in meat production related traits was studied from the Kutuharju (Finland) experimental reindeer data. Calf autumn weight and growth had direct (maternal) heritabilities of 0.17 (0.06, ns) and 0.24 (0.18). The direct-maternal genetic correlation in growth was strongly negative (-0.73). The further analysis did not support it being due to the environmental correlation between the effects. Dam quality has to be included in selection criteria. Dams’ lifetime production was expressed as cumulative calf production at age of seven. The trait was found to be heritable with estimates from 0.22 to 0.30 across analyses. Females’ own calf weight and early calf production are favourably correlated with her lifetime production and therefore could be used as indicator traits for productivity. As conclusion, the favourable correlations indicate that autumn weight is a good selection criterion for meat production per calf or dam in reindeer husbandry.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume Genetic Improvement Programs: Selection for harsh environments and management of animal genetic resources, , 035, 2014
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