JHL Brand


    About JHL

     - Area History

    The Plains Truth

    Our Products

    JHL Genetics

    Visual Ranch

    COW Talk
            For the
                COW Person

    Press Articles

    Email JHL

JHL - COW Talk For the COW Person

Herd Management Decisions
5. Linear Measurements

Linear Measurements is a tool used in an attempt to "read" the expression of efficiency and fertility in the genetics of an animal.

An important part of fertility is efficiency. The more efficient a cow is the more likely she is to maintain or improve her body weight in any given environment. Everything else being equal, a cow will have more difficulty breeding if she cannot maintain her body weight. While attrition of thin cows is one way to limit the generational impact of non-efficient animals it would be less costly if we could project the efficiency of the potential herd animal before they become part of the herd.

Although some of the DNA tests are being used to identify efficiency.  They do not account for all efficiency in cattle.  A secondary measurement we use is to measure the size of the individual organs that actually convert grass into bodily needs (the heart, liver, etc). What we do is measure what we can, the volume (outside) of the animal and use that as a rough translation for efficiency.  This is no different than the industry standard practice of sizing the scrotum and using it as a rough translation of fertility.

The correlations are positive and  ongoing research is being done in the industry to utilize this data. These measurements are always used in conjunction with other measurements of the animal itself. The objective is how balanced the animal is or in different words whether the animal is in proportion to itself.

Other measurements are taken attempting to quantify expressions of fertility such as degree of cresting and muscular development in the shoulders of bulls (related to the level of testosterone).  In heifers it is the characteristic feminine wedge development of the hips being wider than the shoulders and the flank being deeper than the girth.

image002.jpgThe JHL started using linear measurements as an additional criterion in bull selection in 1991. In 1997, it was implemented with all replacement heifers. The eyes do not necessarily give correct information regarding an animal's proportions (See Eye Trick Illustrations for more detail). This is one reason why we actually tape measure the animals.  We can see whether any progress is made year over year and identify specific genetic lines to pursue.  At a minimum we should have pheno-typically more consistent animals. (See Applied Linear Measurements for more detail.)

Soli Deo Gloria


All Content ©2003 - JHL Beef