This is something that we have always believed in and have always used when selecting stock to keep, whether it is horses, cattle, dogs, etc. We do not keep anything that does not have a good temperament, I am glad it is finally in writing.
Temperament isn’t always a trait considered when selecting a herd bull or replacement heifers, but Reinaldo Cooke of Oregon State University told attendees of the 2015 Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Annual Convention that it is worth taking into consideration.
Cooke reported that temperament and handling of cattle is detrimental to overall productivity of the cow herd.
Temperament, also referred to as docility or disposition, is a highly heritable trait that can ruin a producer’s day, but Cooke emphasized it could also have an impact on the pocketbook. In his research on both Bos indicus and Bos taurus cattle, Cooke found that animals with what he categorized as an “excitable” temperament are actually less efficient than cattle with an “adequate” temperament.
The reason for this is cortisol, a stress hormone that is released when the animal responds to human handling or other events in fear, he explained. Elevated cortisol levels can inhibit metabolic processes, delay puberty and postpone ovulation.
In a study of Braford cattle, Cooke shared, there was an 8% difference in pregnancy rates between animals that had lower cortisol levels compared to more excitable cows with higher cortisol levels.
Read the full Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA article online.