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Genetic improvement provides an important way that cattle producers can enhance the performance of their herds.

Genetic improvement is:

  • Permanent: unlike with improved feeding, for example, the performance of an animal is influenced for life
  • Cumulative: improvements made in one generation are added to those made in previous generations
  • Sustainable: improvements can continue to be made as long as there is genetic variation

Even though the markets for animal products and the resources available for animal production are continually changing, breeding goals can be readily modified.

For these reasons at an industry level it is highly cost effective. The annual return from genetic improvement within the sheep and beef sector will exceed £20 million in 2010.