October 3, 2023


Food Information

Weekly genetics evaluation: Watch out of generic breed descriptions

4 min read

BREED comparisons and breed descriptions can typically be deceptive.

It has lengthy been the case that breeds will select to advertise their attributes by the promotion of sure traits or traits. Most producers will know of a minimum of one breed or typically a number of, which have used breed traits as a part of profitable promotional packages.

Whereas there’s nothing fallacious with selling a breed’s traits or traits, there’s a level the place producers must cease and think about the descriptions getting used. Just because a breed generally shows sure traits, doesn’t imply each animal within the breed has these traits.

It’s additionally price contemplating what a attribute means in sensible phrases. Extra concerningly is the angle that develops when breeders begin to apply that description to their breed and think about it because the ‘definition’ of their breed.

A great instance of this concern might be seen in among the on-line discussions ensuing from final week’s Beef Central article on the latest tendencies in Interbreed stud beef judging outcomes at main livestock reveals throughout Australia.  The article used the phrase ‘terminal’ in an try to explain breeds of various varieties. One important social media dialogue was pushed by producers who appeared pissed off that their breed was typically neglected, even by that had been “famend as a maternal breed,” to cite one contributor.

There are some flaws inside this considering, and you will need to problem the perceptions that breeds and breeders have when utilizing these generic breed descriptions. The notion that being ‘maternal’ is one thing a whole breed is famend for is one level to problem.

The opposite is to query what utilizing this time period or any broad phrases can imply for a breed to develop and progress.

Being a maternal breed is a really broad time period. It’s a catch-all time period utilized by some producers and may imply many issues. Finally it comes all the way down to producers trying to explain the traits that affect a cow’s capability to conceive, calve unassisted, increase a calf, and re-conceive.  These are the traits that really matter.

Inside any breed there’s now huge variation between animals with these traits. Most of those traits are of low to average heritability, which implies the setting performs a major half on the expression of those traits throughout a feminine’s life.

Nevertheless it’s potential to pick out for these traits and to extend the genetic advantage of a herd in order that fertility might be improved over time. This genetic choice mixed with choice of replacements and culling of non-performing animals does result in change and enchancment with herd and inside breed.

The danger in counting on a generic time period akin to “maternal” might be that producers lose their concentrate on choice and administration of the traits that really drive fertility of their herd.

Individuals do are inclined to search for the straightforward choices. It’s not unusual for producers to decide on to make use of a bull “as a result of it’s from a maternal (or different breed attribute right here) breed” slightly than trying to see if that bull’s genetic potential will truly handle a herd’s wants.

The variation inside breeds can simply see this method failing to attain any practical enchancment in a herd.

For any breed, generic phrases can typically forestall significant enchancment. There are breeders who select to observe the generic descriptions related to their breed slightly than wanting deeper into their herd and breed to hunt enchancment. Whereas a breed could also be recognised for traits that contribute to fertility, or development or meat yield, for instance, not each animal in that breed essentially has these traits in abundance.

Except breeders actively begin to file, establish, and choose the extra superior animals inside a breed, these claims grow to be increasingly more generic, and in the end extra meaningless.

Selecting to coast alongside beneath a breed description that was developed to help advertising and marketing or promotional functions won’t result in breed enchancment, development, broader recognition, and business demand.


Alastair Rayner is the Principal of RaynerAg, an agricultural advisory service primarily based in NSW.  RaynerAg is affiliated with BJA Inventory & Station Brokers.  He frequently lists and promote cattle for shoppers as properly attending bull gross sales to assist shopper purchases.  Alastair gives pre-sale picks and classifications for seedstock producers in NSW, Qld and Victoria.  He might be contacted right here or by his web site www.raynerag.com.au












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