Countries vary widely both in their beef production systems and in,extent to which they have applied genetic knowledge to improve production through selection and crossbreeding. Since reliable national statistics on breed distribution, herd size, mating policies, sire sources and usage, artificial insemination (AI), performance recording and production levels are seldom available, comparisons will be considered here in general terms, covering various aspects deemed relevant to realised genetic improvement.

The operational structure of the beef industry in each country clearly conditions the nature and scope of its improvement strategies. Likewise the present situation in each country must be viewed in its historical perspective. Specific aspects affecting achieved genetic improvement are the definition of objectives, extent of identification of animals and performance recording, usage of AI, research and advisory inputs, the intensity and accuracy of selection, acceptance and extent of crossbreeding, and the multiplication of progeny 
numbers from superior stock. Knowledge of variation among countries in the above factors should help our understanding of the considerable differences evident in rate of beef cattle improvement and hopefully contribute towards reducing the wide present gap between actual and potential progress.

C. A Morris, A. H Carter

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 5. Plenary sessions, , 527–538, 1982
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