Select for fertility above all, urges geneticist

Fertility is without question the most important trait that beef cattle producers should select for, according to Prof Frikkie Neser, geneticist at the University of the Free State.

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Speaking at the recent Northern Cape Red Meat Producers’ congress, Neser placed the economic importance of fertility, growth and carcass quality in the ratio 10:2:1. “This means that fertility is five times more important than growth and 10 times more important than carcass quality,” he said.

Neser added that SA producers needed to facilitate rapid changes in the industry to accommodate the expected changes in the physical and economic production environments.

Global warming, amongst others, meant that animals would have to adapt to higher temperatures, lower nutritional value grazing and greater risk of disease.

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“Balancing genotype with the production environment will become increasingly important and producers would be well advised to select accordingly,” he said.