A terminal sire selection index for UK beef cattle

P. R. Amer*, R. Crump, G. Simm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A selection index which incorporates estimated breeding values of traits recorded in the United Kingdom pedigree beef cattle breeds is described. The breeding objective is made up of commercial carcass, calving difficulty and gestation length traits. Economic values for these breeding objective traits are summarized from related studies, while partial genetic regression estimates of breeding objective traits on recorded traits are derived mainly from the literature. The selection index is described in terms of the reduction in expected genetic response from selection on the index when individual recorded traits are omitted and the expected genetic responses in breeding objective traits with selection on the index under the assumption of mass selection. Failure to record all calving traits (birth weight, calving difficulty and gestation length) resulted in a reduction in expected economic response to selection of 8% from the situation where both calving traits and production traits (400-day weight, ultrasonic fat and muscle depths, and muscling score) are recorded. With a few stated exceptions, the index is relatively robust to errors in estimates of individual parameters. It is suggested that the total index be used to assist commercial bull and semen buyers in their selection decisions but that two sub-indices for calving and production traits also be published to allow buyers to adjust emphasis on the two groups of traits depending on their individual production circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-454
Number of pages10
JournalAnimal science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1998


  • Beef cattle
  • Selection index
  • Terminal sire


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