Linebreeding

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Oubuffel

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Linebreeding is arguably one of the most powerful breeding techniques known to man. It provides us with the opportunity to save time. Because yes, breeding does take time, and a lot of it. By not making use of linebreeding techniques, a lifetime is often not long enough for us to achieve our goals and that is why many of us often turn towards linebreeding.

The topic of this thread is going to be Linebreeding Techniques - Their Success & Failures. In other words, what I am asking all my Cattle Today friends, is to share your personal experiences with us, with regards to linebreeding. Which technique gave you the best results - half brother with half sister, sire with daughter, son with dam? Any and all possible combinations. Which gave you the best results, or the greatest disappointments?
 

skangusguy

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Ask me in 20 years, I've been raising purebreds for just over that, and I'm still trying to learn. There's 2 main advantages to linebreeding. It concentrates the good genes and shows up the recessives. There's 2 main disadvantages. It concentrates the undesirable genes and slows the rate of input of more desirable genes. So unless you have nearly perfect cattle to begin with, you might be better off buying from a linebred program that aligns with your goals than doing a lot yourself?
 
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Oubuffel

Oubuffel

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Thanks for sharing some of your wisdom skangusguy!

What you're saying is that it concentrates good genes, but also concentrates undesirable genes as well as additionally slowing down the rate of input of more desirable genes. That sounds like linebreeding won't get us anywhere, but in trouble. Certainly, there must be some hefty advantages to linebreeding, otherwise breeders wouldn't have been doing it for so long and purebreds wouldn't exist.

So let's look at it this way and let's say we do have some nearly perfect cattle to begin with. The quickest and obvious first option available is to put the bull with his own daughters, right? What would the advantages, disadvantages and possible outcome of this particular linebreeding technique be?
 

FungusProudKY31

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"So let's look at it this way and let's say we do have some nearly perfect cattle to begin with. The quickest and obvious first option available is to put the bull with his own daughters, right? What would the advantages, disadvantages and possible outcome of this particular linebreeding technique be?"

If you do some historic study of linebreeding and try some you will find that about 15% or less of livestock (generally individuals or small populations) can stand that genetic pressure and do what folks want them to do. So you then have a greatly reduced genepool to start. You face a more rapid rise in the future of the %IBC.

Generally, linebreeding does not automatically eliminate genetic variations. Study the isolated populations of red deer and soay sheep. Anything but. You will continue to force your selective power on a closed population or else you will not see what you think you want to see. This will also speed the increase of the average %IBC.

If you want to know if it is going to work ASAP: son to mother or sire to daughter. The most powerful one to me: son to mother. An opinion. But you are still dealing with mitochondrial DNA transfer which is only transferred from the female which is a big plus.

The biggest question before you start: WHY? If you don't need to, don't.

If you do not get all %IBCs above 15% you're pretty much blowing smoke and urinating in the ocean.

Most folks do not like linebred animals. They will be deemed suspect by some. It is a modern thought as you know the way lines and breeds were historically developed. To linebreed is working against the modern marvels of buying semen, sale catalog purchases and being one of the good ol' boys. The base network of livestock production: other folks want your money and loyalty. As a linebreeder you are an outsider. There's more human issues in animal breeding than there is animal issues.

The semen catalogs and sale catalogs will highlight a bull occasionally as linebred or outcross but if you look at the actual pedigree you will see that they are not honest.

If you linebreed registered livestock you will quickly have EPDs which are irrelevant to the comparative mainstream cattle. The EPDs will grow to be quite inaccurate.

Look up the Bulmer effect. You can overcome it with selection away from regressed animals but it will take a few generations to either see success or complete failure.
 

kentuckyguy

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I’m starting to lean towards doing some line breeding just to keep from bringing outside animals on the farm.
My start is going to be a maternal AI bull calf out of a cow that fits my environment perfectly. Notice I didn’t say the fastest growing or biggest cow. She is 11 years old, stays far year round, breeds back quickly, and is docile.
That bull calf will be cleaning up after AI this spring and fall. Once I see a calf crop he may get to breed more cows.
The biggest problem with breeding cattle is it usually take 3 to 4 years to find out if you screwed up. Getting heifers that raise a calf and breed back as a wet 2 year old separates the wheat from the chaff.
 

Nick Wagner

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Been line breeding here for some 10 years now. Culling is critical. Started because I got tired of importing problems with both live bulls and AI bulls and am happy with the results so far. You’re not out much to keep one of your own bulls and use him on a few, first caution is to use a low birthweight Bull.
 

Ky hills

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Looks like after quite a while of sampling current genetics, and being disappointed more often than not, we are now going to be linebreeding. Not sure how far I will take it in retaining of our bulls completely. Right now we have 2 half brothers, and a third one who's dam is a half sister. Only a handful of our current cows/heifers are related to them and that is also of the 1/2 siblings. We are going to select a couple bulls from this years crop that are unrelated. We have been heading in a direction that is more of type than breed specific, but working with a base of Hereford and Angus cows and crosses of the two. The focus has been on the maternal side of the equation, with fertility and udder quality being emphasized. Some of the bulls we are selecting are more moderate in stature than I have traditionally sought after but should still have enough frame, they are from cows that possess the characteristics we are looking for in cows
 

Nick Wagner

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Looks like after quite a while of sampling current genetics, and being disappointed more often than not, we are now going to be linebreeding. Not sure how far I will take it in retaining of our bulls completely. Right now we have 2 half brothers, and a third one who's dam is a half sister. Only a handful of our current cows/heifers are related to them and that is also of the 1/2 siblings. We are going to select a couple bulls from this years crop that are unrelated. We have been heading in a direction that is more of type than breed specific, but working with a base of Hereford and Angus cows and crosses of the two. The focus has been on the maternal side of the equation, with fertility and udder quality being emphasized. Some of the bulls we are selecting are more moderate in stature than I have traditionally sought after but should still have enough frame, they are from cows that possess the characteristics we are looking for in cows
Your last sentence is the key, he will throw daughters that look like his mother, so choose carefully and cull ruthlessly. We have improved udders, frame scores have moderated, and I’ve been told my calves look like peas in a pod since we started using our own bulls.
 

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