Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



J. Anim. Sci. 2017.95:1063–1070



© 2017 American Society of Animal Science.


The objective of this study was to develop an economic selection index for Beefmaster cattle in a terminal production system where bulls are mated to mature cows with all resulting progeny harvested. National average prices from 2010 to 2014 were used to establish income and expenses for the system. Phenotypic and genetic parameter values among the selection criteria and goal traits were obtained from literature. Economic values were estimated by simulating 100,000 animals and approximating the partial derivatives of the profit function by perturbing traits one at a time, by 1 unit, while holding the other traits constant at their respective means. Relative economic values (REV) for the terminal objective traits HCW, marbling score (MS), ribeye area (REA), 12th–rib fat (FAT), and feed intake (FI) were 91.29, 17.01, 8.38, -7.07, and -29.66, respectively. Consequently, improving the efficiency of beef production is expected to impact profitability greater than improving carcass merit alone. The accuracy of the index lies between 0.338 (phenotypic selection) and 0.503 (breeding values known without error). The application of this index would aid Beefmaster breeders in their sire selection decisions, facilitating genetic improvement for a terminal breeding objective.