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Maternal efficiency in beef cattle is not compromised by selection for leanness or feed efficiency

Laurence, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-1215-2848, Barnes, A.ORCID: 0000-0002-7227-230X, Taylor, E., Pethick, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677, Jones, F., Speijers, J. and Accioly, J. (2009) Maternal efficiency in beef cattle is not compromised by selection for leanness or feed efficiency. In: XIth International Symposium on Ruminant Physiology, 6 - 9 September, Clermont-Ferrand, France.

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Beef cattle producers are concerned that selecting for carcass traits such as leanness, or for increased feed efficiency, might be deleterious to maternal efficiency and limit the use of genetic improvement technologies such as Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs). We define maternal efficiency by production parameters such as days to calving, birth weight, growth rate, weaning weight, as well as efficiency measures such as total intake and kg weaned per megajoule of metabolisable energy consumed per cow calf unit – kg weaned/MJ ME intake. Selecting for leanness in cattle is of economic benefit due to the relationship to higher yielding carcasses (Nkrumah et al., 2004). Net Feed Intake (NFI) is a trait used to measure feed efficiency in beef cattle, and is calculated as the actual amount of feed eaten by an individual animal less the expected amount of feed consumed based on the animal’s growth rate and body weight (Koch et al., 1963). Low NFI (high efficiency) is economically desirable due to the potential to reduce feed costs and increase stocking rates. Both traits affect the body condition of dams and this is closely linked to maternal traits in cattle (Morris on et al., 1999; Roche et al., 2000; Meikle et al., 2004). This experiment aims to quantify the impact on the breeder herd of selection for leanness or feed efficiency over three breeding cycles. The impact of level of nutrition was also assessed.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Wageningen Academic Publishers
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