Charolais Genetic Viewpoint: Creating the Ideal Cow

US - The ideal beef cow is a question that is easily defined, but not so easily characterized, writes Robert Willams, International Charolais Association.
calendar icon 5 August 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

The ideal beef cow is simply the one that returns the most profit to the beef enterprise. But how do we characterize that cow? Is she tall, short, fat, thin? Does she give lots of milk or less? Additionally among all those traits, are they intertwined? These are all good questions and very honestly ones that we don’t have the best answers for.

Furthermore, the ideal beef cow should probably also be defined by the environment she is expected to perform in. Areas of ample forage and higher stocking rates likely dictates a different beef cow than one that is of a much lower stocking rate.

The equation for profitability is further complicated by what choosing breeding program is best.

The answers to these questions are mute if we don’t have information from which to make educated decisions. The answers to these and other questions will be researched and answers found only if adequate and meaningful data is gathered. This process begins with seedstock producers collecting phenotypic measurements on their cattle and reporting them in an organized and complete manner.

The Breed Improvement Committee and the AICA Board of Directors has designed an excellent program for the collection of such information. And while participation is not mandatory, it is highly encouraged. Participating will not only create a better characterization of the Charolais population that can enhance the marketability of Charolais genetics, but it will also give each breeder a better opportunity to make informed breeding decisions for next year’s calf crop.

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