Structure can be an important component of a breeding program, with structural scores accepted for animals less than 750 days of age, for inclusion in TACE, or mature females as part of recent work into Research Breeding Values (RBVs). The ability to collect structural scores means breeders are able to benefit from the information, because it is only once we measure it, can we improve it.
TACE currently accepts structural scores for 5 traits relating to feet and leg structure and an animal, its’ progeny or its’ grand progeny will need a structural score for the trait, included in the analysis, for a EBV to be calculated. In addition to the 5 feet and leg traits, breeders can collect 3 udder traits on mature Angus females as part of recent work into RBVs.
For a structural score to be included in the TACE analysis, there are a number of important requirements which the information will need to meet.
- Animals should be scored on either the same day or after the collection of a 400 or 600 day weight for TACE.
- There needs to be some variation in scores for them to be used in the TACE analysis. Scoring all animals in a group with a score of  does not identify any differences in structural soundness between animals, and consequently does not provide any useful information for the calculation of Structural Soundness EBVs.
- Collection of structural soundness scores for only a selection of animals (e.g. only collecting scores for sale bulls rather than the entire bull drop) may result in data biases and the subsequent calculation of Structural Soundness EBVs that do not reflect the true genetic merit of animals.
For further information on the requirements for collecting structural score information as part of the TransTasman Cattle Evaluation visit the Angus Education Centre.