Two important traits of a productive beef heifer are early conception and easy calving. In this study of 401 heifers from a random selection herd, the relationships between the birth, weaning, yearling, 18-mo and 23-mo weights of heifers and their calving rate, calving date and calf birth weights were found to be of no practical value for selection or culling decisions. We concluded that in our range environment heifers did not express sufficient genetic variation to make practical any scheme of selection of sires of heifers or of heifers themselves for early calving dates or lighter birth weights. The random selection in this herd may be the cause of estimates of heritability to be smaller than expected. We formed a theory that a heifer's age and size may restrict direct or maternal genetic influences on the birth weight of her calf.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XI. Genetics of reproduction, lactation, growth, adaptation, disease, and parasite resistance., , 128–133, 1986
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