chapter  2
14 Pages

Traditional animal breeding of cattle to improve carcass composition and meat quality Matt Spangler, University of Nebraska, USA

Genetic selection in livestock species can arguably be traced to Robert Bakewell in the nineteenth century who developed a system whereby his stock were leased to other farmers in return for phenotypic measurements on progeny. These data were then used to inform his own breeding decisions. In the latter half of the twentieth century, structured progeny testing arose and eventually advancements in statistical methodology allowed for the estimation of an animal’s genetic merit. This, coupled with the use of artificial insemination, allowed for connectedness across herds and the formation of genetic evaluations. These evaluations initially centred on growth traits (birth, weaning and yearling) simply because of their ease of measurement.