Management and Resources
Management of the resources that are available plays a large role in selection and mating decisions. This includes factors such as availability of labor and level of nutrition available to the herd. Proper assessment of management and resource availability, along with breeding objectives targeted to fit those levels of management, should result in more efficient production.
Labor availability, particularly during calving season, is important in determining the level of calving ease needed. Limited monitoring of females, particularly heifers, during the calving season necessitates a higher degree of calving ease. Reduced levels of dystocia can be achieved through selecting sires with greater Calving Ease Direct EPD, selecting females sired by bulls with greater Calving Ease Maternal EPD and by measuring the heifers' pelvic areas and culling the ones with insufficient size prior to breeding.
Nutritional resources are another consideration when assessing management when females will be retained. Females sired by bulls with greater genetic potential for growth and milk will have higher nutritional demands than females sired by bulls with more moderate genetic potential for these traits. For greatest efficiency, growth and milking potential of females should be matched with nutritional resources. If abundant, high-quality feed is available, then highly productive females may be the best option, but if nutritional resources are limited, then high-producing females may have a more difficult time maintaining their body condition which will likely result in reduced reproductive rates.
Setting breeding objectives to match resources or modifying resources to fit breeding objectives is necessary for efficient production. The key to matching genetics to management is proper assessment of goals and resources from a perspective of what is likely to happen instead of what you would like to happen.
For more in-depth information on management, resources and marketing please see (Assessing Management Resources and Marketing) in the NBCEC Sire Selection Manuel.