Update on Structure EPD Development
NBCEC Brown Bagger presentation by Bob Weaber
Kansas State University
Longevity can help offset the cost of developing or purchasing replacement females. Structure is an economically important trait.
Dairy cattle have done a better job measuring and creating genetic predictions for feet and leg structure.
There has been a moderate genetic relationship with type traits and longevity and functional longevity (Dekkers et al. 1994).
The Australian Angus Association has looked at the genetics of feet and legs.
They now have EBVs for
rear leg rear view
rear leg side view
There are currently no genetic evaluations of feet and leg traits in u.S. beef cattle. The American Angus Association is actively collecting data to create EPDs for these traits.
Weaber and colleagues were able to get funding from Kansas State University, Red Angus Association of America, and American Simmental Association to look at over all structure of animals. They recorded 14 traits on 1,885 Red Angus cattle.
It took two to three and a half minutes per animal to score.
1,720 animals were included in the prototype evaluation.
The Front Hoof Angle and Front Heel Depth had genetic correlation of 0.89. The correlations between Front Hoof Angle, Front Heel Depth, Rear Hoof Angle, and Rear Heel Depth were all above 0.85.
Those cattle that were more structurally correct had better body condition scores.
There were also strong correlations between rear hoof measurements and rear leg measurements.
Front Side View had a strong association with overalll structural soundness.
Feet and leg traits tend to have low to moderate heritability. Limb information is a useful indicator trait of structural soundness. Genetic predictions would be useful to improve structural soundness.