2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

Facial Whorl Position as a Predictor of Docility, Mothering Ability and Calf Performance
Elizabeth E. Evers
Dr. Glenn R. Wehner, Faculty Mentor

Two important genetic factors in beef production are docility and mothering ability. These traits impact handling ability and weaning weight of calves. Both traits are correlated to the vertical position of the facial hair whorl in cattle. It was the purpose of this project to determine the extent of correlation in the University beef herd and if the hair whorl position can be used as a visual indicator of both behavioral traits. Truman State University's herd of Gelbvieh cattle are the focus of this study. Though the study is not finished, whorl distance generally explains (0.316 to 78%) of variation in mothering ability with correlation between whorl distance and ADG (r = 0.41, negative association), average distance (r = 0.88, negative association), and preliminarily explains (7.48%) of variation in docility; these findings suggest that whorl distance is an adequate, easily observable estimate of these production parameters of interest.

Keywords: Bovine behavior, Bovine mothering ability, Bovine docility, Bovine facial hair whorl location, Mothering index, Visual esitmate of production parameters, Calf performance

Topic(s):Agricultural Science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 406-3
Location: MG 1000
Time: 3:00

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