Breeding for Robustness in Cattle

Breeding for Robustness in Cattle

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The past decade has revealed unfavourable trends in e.g. fertility, udder health and locomotion in some major dairy cattle breeds due to a large increase in production and insufficient consideration of functional traits in the breeding goals. Such unfavourable trends in some functional traits increase costs. Additionally, the enlargement of herds leads to less available labour time per individual cow. This asks for cows that are easy to handle. At the same time, society is demanding a higher welfare standard of animals. These contradicting developments have increased the desire for so called more robust animals. Robustness can be defined as 'the ability to maintain homeostasis in commonly accepted and sustainable herds of the near future'; or 'the ability of the cow to function well in the environment she lives in as well as in a wide range of climates and production systems'. This book contains a series of articles (26) dealing with the concept of robustness, including aspects like evolution, genetics, environment, animal health and welfare, and integrity. Besides the major functional traits also the links to energy balance, hot climatic conditions, and the attitude and input of stakeholders towards robustness as part of the breeding program are discussed. This book is the first attempt to summarise the available knowledge concerning this topic in cattle, making this book unique. The contributions are from authors of 16 countries from all over the world. However, the focus is presently on farm animal level, while in future robustness of the whole production system may also require additional attention.Under heat stress, more nutrients go to maintenance of body functions and less is available for production (West, 2003). Because of lower DMI, rations in the summer are often formulated to be more nutrient dense (West, 2003). ... Indeed, Bos taurus beef cattle with dark coats had greater heat transfer to the skin, higher body temperatures, and reduced weight gains compared to those with white coatsanbsp;...

Title:Breeding for Robustness in Cattle
Author:Marija Klopčič
Publisher:Wageningen Academic Pub - 2009-01


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