Nervous or aggressive cattle are undesirable in almost every stage of beef production. Cattle with nervous temperaments are more difficult to handle in confined situations and can create safety hazards. Having cattle with temperament problems may also prevent producers from reaching their economic goals.

Dairy cattle studies have shown that cattle with better temperaments produce more milk. Calmer cattle have higher average daily gains in feedlot trials. A research project conducted by Colorado State University shows that those cattle that have the highest temperament ranking, those that were berserk, also have the highest incidence of dark cutters. As many as 25 percent of the cattle that had a high temperament score of 5 exhibited dark cutting carcasses. Conversely, less than 5 percent of the cattle that had temperament scores of 1,2,3, and 4 exhibited dark cutting carcasses. And that’s no small loss to the producer. A dark-cutting carcass will be discounted approximately $35 per hundred pounds compared to a normal, brightly colored carcass.

Since it has been determined that disposition is heritable in cattle, selection for docility could result in cattle with relatively calmer temperaments. The North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) in cooperation with Colorado State University have developed Expected Progeny Difference figures to assist breeders in selecting more docile sires.