The large muscle growth potential o f French beef breeds (Charo- la is, Limousin and Blond d'Aquitaine) is the result o f many generations o f selection for large size and heavy muscled animals. At early stages, the farmers used them as draft animals and, therefore, selected for muscular development. Subsequently, selection in these beef breeds proceeded in small sized family farms, for production o f heavy and older animals (3-4 year old steers) or very young animals with good conformation (veal calves), maternal tra its (fe r t ilit y , calving a b ility , milk production) were not a lim itin g fa cto r in th e ir production systems. From the 6 0 's the development o f a r tific ia l insemination in these small farms as well as in dairy herds, led to a large u tiliza tio n o f beef sires in purebreeding as well as in terminal crossing. The programs o f selection for beef character is tic s among beef sires intended fo r term inal crossing by a r t ific ia l insemination (FREBLING et a l., 1972 ; GAILLARD et a l. , 1974 ; FOULLEY and MENISSIER, 1981), were set up in these conditions. This orientation o f selection has been widely accepted as suggested by the number o f inseminations made with French beef sires in France during the 1970's (2.614.000 cows inseminated in 1970) and by the diffusion o f these breeds as sire breeds fo r crossing in foreing countries (VISSAC, 1971 and 1976 ; BLAJAN et a l. , 1973).
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 8. Symposia (2), , 314–324, 1982
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