Structure, like temperament, has a far-reaching impact on the profitability of an enterprise. It influences longevity, the value of surplus stock, growth rates, conception rates, and weaning rates. High cull rates on structure also reduce the selection pressure for other economically important traits and can reduce the overall performance of the herd. The structure of bulls has also been found to have a significant impact on fertility.
Research conducted at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences found that subfertility in bulls may be due to subclinical lameness (Reference: Persson, Söderquist and Ekman. 2007).
An auction market study in the Western USA found lameness in 15% of beef bulls offered for sale. Other investigations have shown that as cattle are relatively stoic animals, they often do not show lameness until significant pathology is present, and this impacts fertility and conception rates.
The Beef Class Structural Assessment System measures claw set, front and rear foot angle and rear legs. Leg and feet structure in particular are highly heritable, therefore identifying structural issues within your animals allows you to improve your herd through assessment and selection.
The Beef Class Structural Assessment System was designed by the MLA, the BIA and several breed societies to address structural problems in the beef industry.