Comparison of growth traits of eight beef cattle breeds in the Czech Republic
Abstract. Eight beef cattle breeds, Angus (A), Blonde d' Aquitaine (BA), Charolais (C), Czech Pied (CP), Hereford (H), Limousin (L), Piemontese (P) and Simmental (S), were analysed for the following calf traits: birth weight (BW), 210- and 365-day weight ( 210W, 365W) and average daily gains from birth to 210 days (ADG1), from 210 to 365 days (ADG2) and from birth to 365 days (ADG3). Phenotypic parameters were estimated by linear model procedures including the fixed effects of year of birth (1992–1998), herd, sex (male, female), calf number (single, twin), parity and random sire effects. Literature values of heritability estimates were used to derive genetic standard deviations and genetic range for comparison of genetic variation within and between breeds. The means of Blonde d' Aquitaine were highest for all growth traits except for BW, followed by Charolais and Simmental, then Angus, Czech Pied and Limousin with intermediate values and Piemontese and Hereford with lowest growth except for BW in Piemontese and ADG1 in Hereford. Blonde d' Aquitaine also showed high standard deviations for most growth traits except for BW, whereas for Limousin and Piemontese low standard deviations were estimated and for other breeds no consistent pattern was observed. Coefficients of variation were generally high for Hereford and low for Angus. Hypothetical frequency curves were used for comparison of genetic variation within breeds and between breeds. Comparison of extreme and average breeds showed ranges of genetic levels between 79 and 154 % of the average breed level thus indicating the large overall genetic variation for growth traits in beef cattle. Between-breed selection with immediate impact, but steady erosion by time, as well as within-breed selection with slow but steady increase and renewed variation should both be applied for optimal exploitation of genetic resources in the beef industry.