Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Published in J. Anim. Sci. (2010) 88:1967–1972. doi:10.2527/jas.2009-2391


Records of individual feed intake (FI) and BW gain (GN) were obtained from the Germ Plasm Evaluation (GPE) program at US Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC). Animals were randomly assigned to pens. Only pens with 6 to 9 steers (n = 289) were used for this study (data set 1). Variance components and genetic parameters were estimated using data set 1. Estimated genetic values (EGV) for FI were calculated by 5 methods using single and 2-trait analyses: 1) individual FI and individual GN, 2) individual FI alone, 3) 2-trait with individual GN but with FI missing, 4) individual GN and pen total FI, and 5) pen total FI alone. Analyses were repeated but with some of the same records assigned artificially to 36 pens of 5 and 4 paternal half sibs per pen (data sets 2 and 3). Models included year as a fixed factor and birth and weaning weights, age on test, and days fed as covariates. Estimates of heritability were 0.42 ± 0.16 and 0.34 ± 0.17 for FI and GN. The estimate of the genetic correlation was 0.57 ± 0.23. Empirical responses to selection were calculated as the average EGV for the top and bottom 10% based on rank for each method but with EGV from method 1 substituted for the EGV on which ranking was based. With data set 1, rank correlations between EGV from method 1 and EGV from methods 2, 3, 4, and 5 were 0.99, 0.53, 0.32, and 0.15, respectively. Empirical responses relative to method 1 agreed with the rank correlations. Accuracy of EGV for method 4 (0.44) was greater than for method 3 (0.35) and for method 5 (0.29). Accuracies for methods 4 and 5 were greater than indicated by empirical responses and correlations with EGV from method 1. Comparisons of the 5 methods were similar for data sets 2 and 3. With data set 2, rank correlations between EGV from method 1 and EGV from methods 3, 4, and 5 were 0.47, 0.64, and 0.62. Average accuracies of 56, 75, and 75% relative to method 1 (0.67) generally agreed with the empirical responses to selection. As expected, accuracy using pen total FI and GN to obtain EGV for FI was greater than using GN alone. With data set 1, empirical response to selection with method 4 was one-third of that for method 1, although average accuracy was 65% of that for method 1. With assignment of 5 paternal half sibs to artificial pens, using pen total FI and individual GN was about 81% as effective for selection as using individual FI and GN to obtain EGV for FI and was substantially more effective than use of GN alone.