Beef cattle convenience trait explained

US - Temperament or disposition has been defined as a convenience trait. "What is a convenience trait?" is the usual response from a group of producers when the topic is first brought up. The answer is, "Well, it is just what you would think it is."
calendar icon 13 November 2006
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Convenience traits are those traits that contribute directly to savings in time, facilities, drugs and labor in a cow-calf enterprise. Some examples of these traits would be temperament, polledness, structural and udder soundness, disease and pest resistance, heat tolerance, doing or "fleshing" ability, mothering ability and calving ease.

Although many of these traits of convenience are not highly heritable, they contribute to the ease of participating in and enjoying the beef cattle industry.

Temperament is a measure of the relative docility, wildness or aggression of an animal toward unfamiliar situations, human handlers or management interventions. Temperament reflects the ease with which animals respond to handling treatment and routine management. Animals with bad disposition problems are a safety risk to handlers, themselves and other animals within the herd. Disposition affects handling equipment requirements, operation liability exposure, beef quality assurance, carcass quality and performance.

Wild, hard-to-handle cattle are a danger to themselves and the people working with them. They are the ones that create handling and gathering problems. Once they are confined, they are the gate and fence crashers.

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