Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

June 2007


Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2007, 85:1625–1633. Copyright ©2007 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


This study examined competition effects on ADG in the feedlot of 1,882 Hereford bulls representing 8 birth years from a selection experiment. Each year, 8 feedlot pens were used to feed bulls in groups, with 2 pens nested within each of the 4 selection lines. Gains were recorded for up to 8 periods of 28 d. Models for analyses included pen effects (fixed or random), fixed effects such as year and line, and random direct genetic, competition genetic (and in some analyses competition environmental), and environmental effects. Each pen mate as a competitor affected the records of all others in the pen. All lines traced to common foundation animals, so the numerator relationships among and within pens were the bases for separating direct and competition genetic effects and pen effects. For this population and pen conditions (average of 30 bulls per pen), the major results were 1) competition genetic effects seemed present for the first 28-d period but not for the following 7 periods; 2) models with pens considered as fixed effects could not separate variances and covariance due to direct and competition genetic effects; 3) models without competition effects had large estimates of the variance component due to pen effects for gain through 8 periods; and 4) models with genetic and environmental competition effects accounted for nearly all of the variance traditionally attributed to pen effects (even though estimates of the competition variance component were small, the estimates of pen variance were near zero).