Optimization of a specialized beef breeding program with a crossbreeding component
Abstract. A complex deterministic approach (ZPLAN) was used to optimize the breeding programs for beef breeds. For the model population 1,000 beef cows and 60,000 dual purpose Simmental cows for crossbreeding were assumed. The percentage of AI was 25% within the beef breed and 93% within the Simmental cows. Domestic AI beef bulls were used for crossbreeding only. The total merit index included beef traits (birth weight, 200-day-weight direct and maternal, 365-day-weight, daily gain, dressing percentage, EUROP grading score) and functional traits (calving ease, stillbirth, fertility and functional longevity).
The proportion of foreign proven and domestic AI bulls was varied as well as the number of bulls tested on stations and on contract farms. Annual monetary genetic gain and discounted profit were used to evaluate alternative breeding strategies.
Extending the number of bulls tested on stations and establishing performance testing of natural service bulls on contract farms increased the annual monetary genetic gain and the discounted profit, especially when domestic AI bulls were also used in the beef cattle breeding population.