Genetic improvement of muscling

Genetic improvement in the herd is normally driven by breeding efficiency and the target market for your steers. If you breed for better muscling in your steers, the carcase value in cows will improve. They too will carry more meat and less fat.

Better-than-average muscling in a herd is good for carcase value in both the progeny and cows. Medium to high muscling (C to B muscle score), rather than the typical moderate (D muscle score), is compatible with good breeding efficiency.

Improving muscling by crossbreeding can be very positive for carcase value without damaging fertility or breeding efficiency if you stay within a moderate frame size British or tropical breed, or crossbreed to another moderate frame size breed.

Be more careful about crossbreeding with larger frame breeds, they will increase size and meat content of all classes of stock including your main steer production lines, but may reduce the breeding efficiency of females. A change like this needs thorough planning.

If you want an efficient breeding herd, be wary of extremes in frame size and muscling, and don't select for muscling alone.