The beef industry is challenged to: 1) reduce costs of production to remain competitive in global markets; 2) match genetic potential with the climate and feed resources available in diverse environments; 3) reduce fat and increase leanness of products to gain greater acceptance by consumers; and 4) improve palatability, tenderness, and consistency of beef products. Use of heterosis and breed differences through the use of crossbreeding or composite populations, and selection of breeding stock to exploit genetic variation within breeds can all be used to help meet these challenges. Selection based on the use of EPDs has accelerated the rate of genetic change for calving ease and growth rate in most breeds of beef cattle. Effectiveness of selection is likely to be enhanced by molecular genetic tools that are being developed to provide for more accurate genetic prediction.

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