Submitted to: Beef Improvement Federation Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Genetic improvement of profitability is a multiple trait selection problem for livestock producers. Virtually all beef producers use multiple trait selection, but do so inefficiently. However, pork producers have readily adopted selection index technology for efficient multiple trait selection. In this paper, we review the basic concepts of selection index focusing most closely on the interface between genetic evaluation for seedstock and economics. Subsequently, we examine in greater detail the use of selection index technology to improve profitability of a large integrated pork producer. Our ultimate goal is to provide groundwork for development of guidelines by the Beef Improvement Federation that will facilitate beef producers using genetic selection to improve profitability.
Technical Abstract: For some years the Beef Improvement Federation has discussed issues involved in multiple trait selection to improve profitability. Meanwhile, the pork industry has been quick to adopt selection index technology as a means to this end. Selection index technology depends on having in place a genetic evaluation system for economically important and indicator traits. The necessary extension beyond routine genetic evaluation is to derive relative economic values (partial derivatives of profit with respect to phenotypes) for biological traits determining differences between animals in their contribution to profitability. The perspective is necessarily long-term and customer focused. The problem is complex in that differences in production systems lead to differences in the relative economic values and therefore customized indexes for each producer. Experiences of a major pork producer in using selection index technology are used to highlight some important principles.