Population structure in five African beef cattle breeds in South Africa was investigated, to assess the effect of animal recording in management of genetic diversity and genetic improvement. Pedigree records of 247,173 Afrikaner, 57,561 Boran, 198,557 Drakensberger, 256,692 Nguni and 55,309 Tuli breed were analysed using the online POPREP software system. Pedigree completeness over six generations varied with the lowest completeness in the Boran and the highest in the Afrikaner.The average generation interval ranged between 6.0 to 6.4 years. The rates of inbreeding per year were 0.03%, 0.04%, 0.06%, 0.07% and 0.08% in Boran, Nguni, Afrikaner, Drakensberger and Tuli respectively. Effective population sizes were 89, 107, 122, 191 and 364 in Tuli, Afrikaner, Drakensberger, Nguni and Boran respectively. Inbreeding and effective population size for the Boran was not a true reflection due to poor pedigree recording. These results indicate that none of the breeds are in critical limits of endangerment. Breeding values were regressed on birth year of each breed for weight traits; Kleiber ratio and scrotal circumference from 1986 to 2012. Genetic trends were stable for birth weights except the Afrikaner and Tuli. Genetic progress has been made in weaning and post weaning weights for all the breeds except for limited progress in the Nguni. Kleiber ratio and scrotal circumference in all measured breeds have shown good progress. The results of this study confirmed that recording of pedigree and performance records are effective in maintenance of genetic diversity and genetic improvement through selection based on EBVs of recorded traits.
Dissertation (MScAgric)--University of Pretoria, 2014.