Factors affecting actual weaning weight, preweaning average daily gain and relative growth rate in Asturiana de los Valles beef cattle breed
Abstract. In this paper we analyse the major environmental and genetic factors affecting actual weaning weight (WW), preweaning average daily gain (ADG) and relative growth rate (RGR) in a representative sample of field data of Asturiana de los Valles beef cattle breed. Major environmental factors affect preweaning growth performance of Asturiana de los Valles calves in the direction usually found in the literature. However RGR seems to be self-corrected for sex of calf and calving number. Heritabilities for the direct and maternal genetic effects were 0.67 and 0.29, 0.51 and 0.31 and 0.18 and 0.12 respectively for WW, ADG and RGR. The estimates of genetic parameters affecting RGR are more realistic than those estimated for the WW and ADG. Selection for RGR would lead to obtain higher growth rates and lower birth weights. RGR could be an interesting selection criterion in beef cattle improvement programs.