Multi-herd evaluation procedures for beef cattle are reviewed. These include the formal establishment of genetic links across herds through the use of AI reference sires, the conduct of central performance testing and the participation in co-operative nucleus breeding schemes. The advantages, limitations and problems of each of these procedures are discussed. The primary and most limiting factor for the use of field data for multi-herd animal evaluation is the extent of genetic ties across herds. Even the most sophisticated analytical procedure cannot properly account for poor connectedness amongst herds. Central performance tests are often limited by poor representation of individuals from contributing herds, the influence of pre-test environmental effects and differences between the test and commercial environments. Co-operative nucleus breeding schemes may provide suitable population structures for multi-herd evaluation, although further work is required to examine the impact of unbalanced data structures on the accuracy of evaluation.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume IX. Breeding programs for dairy and beef cattle, water buffalo, sheep, and goats., , 373–388, 1986
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