Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Published in 2009 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report (Lincoln, NE: December, 2008). Copyright © 2008 The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.


The goal of this study was to estimate genetic and phenotypic parameters for growth, feed intake, feed efficiency, and temperament traits in a mixed-breed composite population of growing beef cattle. Intake and gain:feed (G:F) were moderately heritable; however, residual feed intake (RFI) was more heritable than other measures of feed efficiency. Adjusting RFI and G:F for carcass fatness had little effect on heritability and correlations with remaining traits. Flight speed was moderately heritable and highly repeatable. Flight speed was not highly correlated with measures of intake or feed efficiency. Some small breed effects were observed. High heritability estimates indicate that selection for or against specific intake and feed efficiency traits may be successful. Flight speed may be useful in selection as an indicator of temperament, but does not appear to be a useful indicator of feed efficiency.