Central performance tests of beef bulls are used in many countries as the basis for selecting among sires originating in different herds. Commonly, bulls from several herds are moved to a central location at 6 to 10 months of age (soon after weaning), and grazed as a single group or fed-out in feedlots for 150 to 300 days. The bulls are then ranked for final weight or gain on test, and these rankings used as a basis for making selection decisions.
The Farm Production Division of the New Zealand Dairy Board (NZDB) has conducted four central performance tests of this type using Hereford bulls. Each of these tests has been followed by a progeny test. In choosing bulls to be progeny tested, care was taken to include bulls with both high and low performance test results. As well as identifying progeny tested bulls with high breeding values for growth traits for use through artificial insemination, this study also permitted the accuracy of these performance tests to be evaluated. To our knowledge central performance tests have not previously been checked in this manner either in New Zealand or overseas. The results of the first of these central performance tests and subsequent progeny test results were
reported by Wickham (1977).
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 8. Symposia (2), , 300–304, 1982
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