A deterministic model was used to optimize mating structures for closed nucleus breeding schemes for beef cattle. The model has been validated by stochastic simulation. It adjusts for the effects of linkage disequilibrium, inbreeding, and population size and structure. Ranking of alternative mating structures (number of progeny/dam and dams/sire) differed appreciably between unadjusted and adjusted response predictions and also among adjusted response predictions over various planning horizons. Choices among alternative mating structures based on unadjusted predictions of response can be misleading. Mating structures with higher selection intensity were optimal for short planning horizons, large herd sizes, and high initial heritability levels. Results also indicate that there is substantial flexibility as regards mating structures that yield within 5% of the maximum discounted cumulative response. Comparisons among alternative breeding schemes should focus on contrasting possible selection responses from optimized schemes rather than arbitrarily constructed schemes.

D. S Keller, C. Smith, M. Quinton

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XV. Beef cattle, sheep and pig genetics and breeding, fibre, fur and meat quality., , 323–326, 1990
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