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Cost-effectiveness and population structure in cattle breeding programmes

Annales de Génétique et de Sélection Animale
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/1297-9686-5-2-239
  • Research
  • Economics
  • Medicine


COST-EFFECTIVENESS AND POPULATION STRUCTURE IN CATTLE BREEDING PROGRAMMES (1) E. P. CUNNINGHAM The Agvicultuval Institute, Department of Animal Breeding et Genetics, Dunsinea, Castleknock, Co. Dublin, Ireland SUMMARY Cost-effectiveness requires that a breeding programme be both genetically and economi- cally well-planned. Planning consists of deciding between alternative courses of action. These decisions arise at both the strategic and tactical level. The point is made that the tactical choices have been well served by science, but that the more important strategic ones have not been. A formal framework is described in which the sequence of decision-making required for an animal breeding programme is treated systematically. Current work in the genetic/economic planning of cattle breeding schemes is reviewed. The interaction of breeding programmes and population structure is dealt with in some detail. INTRODUCTION The contribution which the science of animal genetics makes to the practice of animal breeding is to provide a basis for rational decision-making. That is to say that from a reasonably well-established knowledge of how inheritance works (both in individuals and in populations), we can select between individuals, strains and mating systems and predict with reasonable accuracy the genetic consequences of our decisions. If the economic cost of the alternative courses of action can be measured, and if their results can also be expressed in monetary terms, it becomes possible to calculate the cost-effectiveness of a breeding programme. This is to state (1) Invited report presented in the Study Meeting of the European Association for Animal Production, joint Session of Commission on Cattle Production and Commissionon Animal Genetics, Verona, Italy october 6th, 1972. in very broad and simple terms, what can be an extremely complex situation. The following factors may all interact to produce this complexity : - multiplicity of breeding goals, - presence of both additive a

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