Weekly genetics evaluate: Are bull temperament scores deceptive?


I WAS lately contacted by a bull breeder with a number of issues across the subject of docility and choice for temperament.

Temperament is constantly crucial trait producers take into account when deciding on a brand new bull, surveys present.

The Australian Beef Breeding Insights survey was a co-funded mission backed by the MLA Donor Firm and Angus Australia which ran in Might and June 2019.

As might be seen on this chart, when it comes to producers’ choice standards, temperament was crucial choice standards throughout all breed sorts.

Ranking of Choice Standards utilized by Producers (Supply: Beef Breeding Insights – Angus Australia 2020)

With this in thoughts, I used to be requested a sequence of questions by this bull breeder across the assortment of information on temperament. Specifically, he requested if his enterprise was probably being positioned at authorized threat by the subjective scores on docility of bulls contributing to dangers for these individuals who then buy his cattle.

Whereas these are legitimate questions, additionally they spotlight a number of areas the place bull breeders and industrial cattle producers might not actually perceive the position of information assortment for traits, how EBVs are calculated, and the expression of a trait in progeny.

To answer these issues, it’s price breaking the query down into a number of smaller areas and addressing every clearly.

The primary is round knowledge assortment. Breedplan EBVs depend on producers to gather uncooked knowledge. There are very clear pointers across the knowledge to be collected for every trait, in addition to when that knowledge must be collected. Within the case of docility, BreedPlan recommends that these scores be collected between 60 and 400 days of age. Ideally scores must be collected at weaning.

The rationale for this timing comes all the way down to the expression of a trait. As most producers are conscious, temperament is strongly influenced by dealing with experiences. These might be both constructive or detrimental, so ideally recording scores earlier than an excessive amount of human interplay has occurred is the aim.

Breedplan suggestions for scoring docility are to document an animal on a scale of 1 (Docile) to five (Aggressive), as described under:

Animals might be assessed both in a yard – by being separated and held alone in a nook for 30 seconds or by means of a race and held in a crush for 30 seconds. It is necessary that there’s some variation within the scores assigned in an effort to assess the variation related to the group.

It’s pure that what some breeders take into account nervous (Rating 3) different breeders may even see that animal as Flighty (Rating 4).  So there will likely be a level of subjectivity related to these scores.

Nevertheless, it is very important recognise these uncooked scores should not ultimate. Docility scores are submitted to BreedPlan for evaluation, which incorporates knowledge from recognized pedigrees, recorded progeny, linked herds, and different knowledge reminiscent of genetic traits which can have correlations with the trait being analysed.

The Docility EBV revealed for a bull is subsequently the results of a complete evaluation, of which the information collected by one breeder is however one half. Within the instances of latest sires, or the place linked knowledge is proscribed, the accuracy of this EBV will likely be decrease and this accuracy must be revealed in a sale catalogue together with the EBV.

Position of Docility EBVs in a herd

The second issue to recognise is the position of Docility EBVs in a herd.

Basically, the EBV helps point out the odds of progeny anticipated to have acceptable temperament inside a herd. This is a crucial clarification that many breeders and producers overlook.

Docility EBVs don’t imply that there might not be particular person animals inside a herd with poor temperaments. It’s nonetheless potential, nevertheless the impact over a herd when utilizing bulls with increased EBVs for docility means a rise within the variety of progeny expressing extra acceptable ranges of temperament.

The ultimate query related to the potential threat of damage from a bull with favorable Docility EBVs additionally comes again to understanding what EBVs describe.

The most effective description is that EBVs belong to the progeny, to not the bull. The behaviour and temperament of a bull is the results of his genetics and atmosphere. Within the case of atmosphere, that may be his dealing with and former experiences.

There actually is an instantaneous concern on this case, which is security across the particular person bull and the long run concern round his genetics as described by his EBVs.

There’s little worth in a bull with poor particular person temperament, even when he possesses favorable EBVs for docility. As a person he must be eliminated for the security of handlers and others.

Two-pronged method

Finally, choice for temperament must be a two-pronged method.

People that show unacceptable temperament must be recognized and faraway from breeding packages.

Longer-term, choice for docility, utilizing bulls which have increased accuracy EBVs will help in transitioning a herd in direction of the vary a producer feels to be acceptable.

For bull breeders, their position in assessing and recording the docility of the animals they want to promote as bulls will contribute to enhancements throughout breeds. On this case, the information collected varieties a part of a much bigger image and must be seen as useful inclusions moderately than a threat for this system.


Alastair Rayner is the Principal of RaynerAg, an agricultural advisory service primarily based in NSW.  RaynerAg is affiliated with BJA Inventory & Station Brokers.  He recurrently lists and promote cattle for purchasers as effectively attending bull gross sales to assist consumer purchases.  Alastair supplies pre-sale picks and classifications for seedstock producers in NSW, Qld and Victoria.  He might be contacted right here or by means of his web site www.raynerag.com.au