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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Modified method of reporting record of performance in Canadian Ayrshire cattle Gyles , Nicholas Roy

Abstract

Dairy farming is practised primarily for economic gain. Two main factors contribute towards production of milk and fat. These two factors are the hereditary material of the herd and the environment in which the herd lives. Inheritance and environment interact and determine production. The dairy farmer must, therefore, aim at establishing, maintaining, and improving the hereditary material in the herd. This can be achieved through the use of a planned scientific breeding program. In order to enable cattle to produce to the capacity of their genetic potential, optimum environment must be provided, through proper management, feeding and freedom from disease. Thus the following main factors, which condition the performance of the dairy cow, are of paramount importance to the dairyman:- Breeding, management, feeding and freedom from disease. It is essential that the farmer keep accurate accounts, of the record of performance, of all the cattle in the herd at all times. This is necessary so that he can assess at any time, the true value of the animals. This information serves to guide the breeding program, also the feeding practice, and can in some instances indicate the presence of disease in animals. The record of performance of a bull in a herd is of greater importance than the record of performance of any one cow. This is illustrated by the old saying that - 'a good bull is half the herd, while a poor bull is the whole herd’. The performance of a bull is stated in terms of pounds milk, pounds fat, and percentage of fat. These figures represent the average transmitting ability of the bull to the offspring, and, collectively the figures are referred to as the sire index. A sire index is calculated from a knowledge of the production in terms of, milk and fat, of the daughters of a bull and also the production of their respective dams. Breed Associations are formed with the prime object of working in the best interests of the particular breed. The functions of a Breed Association include the encouraging and furthering of any project that may improve the individual herd and the breed as a whole. The place of Government in Democracy is to provide a framework within which the individual may prosper. Consequently through co-operation of the Department of Agriculture and the Breed Associations, a voluntary system for testing the performance of purebred cattle has been established. This system, which is termed The Canadian Record of Performance for Purebred Dairy Cattle, gives official recognition to the production of dairy cattle. These figures are made available to the farmer for his own use. In order to promote the best use of these figures by the farmer, they must be presented in as simple a form as possible. This is necessary because most farmers have not the time, nor the patience, nor the desire, to detach themselves from their daily practical endeavours and engage themselves with calculations that even bear the slightest signs of complexity. The present system does have value both to the individual dairyman and to the entire industry. However, if a more simple, and more readily applicable system were developed, it is felt that a greater degree of accuracy in selection and breeding practice would result. It is important, therefore, that some research be carried out, with a view to developing a simple system of reporting Record of Performance, which will be readily appreciated and used to advantage by the dairy farmer. Such is the aim of this endeavour.

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