Look at the accompanying table. Do these results support conventional wisdom? Quite the contrary. The breed that has been selected for negative “growth” (Lowline) is by far the most productive.
Some institutionalised “truths” that are false:
1. Performance tested breeds (“scientifically improved” breeds) are more productive.
Veld tests in Southern Africa prove the exact opposite. The so-called “unimproved” native breeds are far superior in terms of profit per unit of land.
2. Land degradation is caused by too many grazers.
The opposite is true. Land is degrading due to selective overgrazing by too few animals.
3. Lean animals are more efficient.
Fat genotypes are more grass efficient. Being fat they are more fertile and healthier.
4. Fertility is lowly heritable.
No, fertility is highly heritable. The challenge is to use genetically discerning measures of fertility.
5. White (feedlot) fat is good.
Yellow (grass) fat is healthy and anti carcinogenic.
6. Weight gain and FCE (feed conversion efficiency) indicate grass conversion efficiency.
This is not true since such measures are negatively correlated to Inherent Body Condition. Small frame, fast maturing animals are more efficient.
7. High intake animals are wasteful and less efficient.
The opposite is true. Animals with a high Relative Intake are the most efficient.
8. Bigger is better
No, the smaller and heavier is better.
9. Calve before the rains.
For maximum fertility calve on green grass.
10. An animal’s genetic potential must be expressed through improved (nutrition; parasite control) management.
No, an animal’s genetic potential must be determined by environment!
We need to seriously change our thinking. Nothing changes until our thinking changes. A good start is to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.