Myth: All calves are created equal
only selling pounds at weaning
Keywords:beef cattle, genotype, genetic evaluation, parentage
The value of commercial cattle, both feeder cattle and replacement females, has traditionally been imperfect as it was basically based on weight and it did not realize the potential value differences of those pounds. Historically, the "reputation" of cattle was limited without facts and true value for the system of beef production. Characterization of cattle genetic merit in the commercial cow herd today allows value differentiation. No longer are calves valued strictly on a weaned calf-weight and price. Selection tools that were typically associated with breed organizations and purchases of registered seedstock can be extended to quantifying genetic value in commercial herds. The use of genomic technology provides metrics for growth and carcass traits to better describe genetic potential for commercial calves. Allied industry delivers DNA tests that can assist commercial producers improve calf crop genetics and value-based marketing options for calf crops. Veterinarians can play a key role in assisting their clientele with sample collection, cow-herd record assessment, and interpretation of genomic results as part of a complete whole-herd management system.