Breeding objectives were developed for beef cattle production under typical economic and environmental conditions of central Brazil. The traits considered were: calves weaned per cow/year (NCW), weaning weight (WW), carcass weight (CW) and food intake. In the study, two systems were examined, a cow-calf system (surplus calves sold after weaning) and a cow-calf enterprise (in which surplus calves are raised for slaughter). In the first, income is from the sale of male calves and surplus heifers after weaning and of culled cows. In the second, the income is from the sale of steers, surplus heifers and culled cows. For both situations, the profit (US$/cow/year) was estimated by the difference between revenue and costs. The economical values (EV) were calculated as the change in profit resulting from a unit change in each trait, as other traits remained unchanged. The trait with greatest economic value was NCW, followed by food intake, CW and WW. The order of importance when values were in additive genetic standard deviation units were feed intake, CW, NCW and WW.
beef cattle; breeding objective; economic value