chapter  2
26 Pages

Breeding for Productivity

Modern breeders often categorize the desired objectives as production traits (a high yield of the primary product) and functional traits of the animal. Livestock geneticists define functional traits as ‘those traits of an animal that increase its biological and economic efficiency not by higher outputs of products but by reduced costs of production’.4 Overall functioning is an important part of the productivity of an animal; there is a limited advantage in getting a high yield from an animal who is too lame to walk into the milking parlour or to the feeders and drinkers or into the truck for transport to the slaughterhouse, or who collapses from stress during the journey.