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Title: Genetics of heifer performance in 'wet' and 'dry' seasons and their relationships with steer performance in two tropical beef genotypes
Contributor(s): Barwick, Stephen  (author); Johnston, David  (author); Burrow, Heather M  (author); Holroyd, RG (author); Fordyce, G (author); Wolcott, Matthew Lee  (author); Sim, WD (author); Sullivan, MT (author)
Publication Date: 2009
DOI: 10.1071/EA08273
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Abstract: The genetics of heifer performance in tropical 'wet' and 'dry' seasons, and relationships with steer performance, were studied in Brahman (BRAH) and Tropical Composite (TCOMP) (50% 'Bos indicus', African Sanga or other tropically adapted 'Bos taurus'; 50% non-tropically adapted 'Bos taurus') cattle of northern Australia. Data were from 2159 heifers (1027 BRAH, 1132 TCOMP), representing 54 BRAH and 51 TCOMP sires. Heifers were assessed after post-weaning 'wet' (ENDWET) and 'dry' (ENDDRY) seasons. Steers were assessed post-weaning, at feedlot entry, over a 70-day feed test, and after ~120-day finishing. Measures studied in both heifers and steers were liveweight (LWT), scanned rump fat, rib fat and 'M. longissimus' area (SEMA), body condition score (CS), hip height (HH), serum insulin-like growth factor-I concentration (IGF-I), and average daily gains (ADG). Additional steer measures were scanned intra-muscular fat %, flight time, and daily (DFI) and residual feed intake (RFI). Uni- and bivariate analyses were conducted for combined genotypes and for individual genotypes. Genotype means were predicted for a subset of data involving 34 BRAH and 26 TCOMP sires. Ameta-analysis of genetic correlation estimates examined how these were related to the difference between measurement environments for specific traits. There were genotype differences at the level of means, variances and genetic correlations. BRAH heifers were significantly (P < 0.05) faster-growing in the 'wet' season, slower-growing in the 'dry' season, lighter at ENDDRY, and taller and fatter with greater CS and IGF-I at both ENDWET and ENDDRY. Heritabilities were generally in the 20 to 60% range for both genotypes. Phenotypic and genetic variances, and genetic correlations, were commonly lower for BRAH. Differences were often explained by the long period of tropical adaptation of 'B. indicus'. Genetic correlations were high between corresponding measures at ENDWET and ENDDRY, positive between fat and muscle measures in TCOMP but negative in BRAH (mean of 13 estimates 0.50 and –0.19, respectively), and approximately zero between steer feedlot ADG and heifer ADG in BRAH. Numerous genetic correlations between heifers and steers differed substantially from unity, especially in BRAH,suggesting theremaybe scope to select differently in the sexes where that would aid the differing roles of heifers and steers in production. Genetic correlations declined as measurement environments became more different, the rates of decline (environment sensitivity) sometimes differing with genotype. Similar measures (LWT, HH and ADG; IGF-I at ENDWET in TCOMP) were genetically correlated with steer DFI in heifers as in steers. Heifer SEMA was genetically correlated with steer feedlot RFI in BRAH(0.75±0.27 a tENDWET, 0.66±0.24 at ENDDRY).Selection to reduce steer RFI would reduce SEMA in BRAH heifers but otherwise have only small effects on heifers before their first joining.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Animal Production Science, 49(6), p. 367-382
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 1836-5787
Field of Research (FOR): 070201 Animal Breeding
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU)
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