2008, Volume 11, Paper 78

The Bull Within

Bill Malcolm – Department of Agriculture and Food Systems, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne


Inside every good bull is a pen full of bulls, steers and heifers trying to get out. Some of these will be as good as their sire. Some will be better. Some will be worse. Observation of a bull tells little about how much genetic superiority he can pass on to his sons and daughters. Measurements are needed. Identifying the superior offspring – the bulls that have the capacity to produce better offspring – is a science.

Identifying a bull as having the genetic capacity to pass on to offspring potential for high production, good reproduction and valuable carcase traits raises important question: What is it worth to a particular farm system to introduce genetic material able to deliver increased quantities and quality of beef production, improved reproduction, or better carcase traits?

Download the full PDF version here.