Interpretive Summary: Weak genotype x environment interaction suggests that measuring scrotal circumference at 12 and 18 mo of age is helpful to select precocious Brahman cattle
By: Bárbara M Nascimento, Roberto Carvalheiro, Rodrigo de A Teixeira, Laila T Dias, Marina R S Fortes
Beef production systems rely on efficient cow-calf operations, that is, farms where the cow herd has a high level of fertility and pregnancies are common. Bull fertility also plays an important role in terms of pregnancy rates. To increase herd fertility, cattle breeders and genetic selection programs use some indicator traits that are related to fertility. A common indicator trait used is scrotal circumference (SC), which like most reproduction traits are influenced by the animal’s genetics and its environment. For some traits, when the environment has a large effect and it interacts with the genetics of the animals, selection might be less successful. Therefore, it is important to investigate genotype by environment interactions and their effect on reproduction traits used for selection. In this study, SC was measured at four different ages in Brahman cattle. We found weak evidence of genotype by environment effect on SC measured at 12 and 18 mo. In short, SC measured at these ages can be a good indicator of sexual precocity. No changes in sire rankings were observed when SC was measured at those ages, meaning that selecting the best sire is more straightforward than if the environment was playing a bigger role.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.