Date of this Version
For 1,442 Belgian Blue bulls performance- tested at the Centre de Selection de la Race Blanc-Bleue Belge, nine traits were observed: height at withers at 7 mo, height at withers at 13 mo, weight at 7 mo, weight at 13 mo, average feed consumption of concentrates, average daily gain, average feed consumption of concentrates per average daily gain, average feed consumption of concentrates per mean metabolic weight, and price per kilogram of live weight. This price is based on muscle conformation and is therefore used as muscle conformation score. Restricted maximum likelihood with a derivative-free algorithm was used to estimate (co)variance components because there were different models and missing values per trait. Estimates of heritabilities were above .50 except for average feed consumption per average daily gain (.16) and average feed consumption per mean metabolic weight (.33). Estimates of genetic and phenotypic correlations between height at withers and weight traits were positive and moderate to high. Average daily gain showed a negative genetic correlation with weight at 7 mo ( -.68) but had positive correlations with height at withers at 13 mo and weight at 13 mo (.22 and .43). Muscle conformation expressed as price per kilogram of live weight was related to low average feed consumption per average daily gain. Average feed consumption showed high correlations with weight at 7 mo and weight at 13 mo. Average feed consumption per average daily gain had a high negative genetic correlation with average daily gain ( -.89).