We’ve updated the twinner cattle web site to serve as a resource for information related to the genetics and management of twinner cattle. This is very much a work in progress and I welcome any feedback (send me comments via email to email@example.com). Included on the site are links to the papers that were the basis for Sherrill Echternkamp’s presentation and my presentation at 2002 twinner cattle meeting, updates on research here at the UW, links to trade publication articles on twinner cattle, Extension reports and breed directories.
For beef cattle production, if you could have a cow produce two calves, obviously, you’d have more calves to market. You could do everything right in terms of management of cattle, in terms of reproduction, and the best you would ever do in the absence of twinning is one calf per cow. Well, if the cow has twins you’re greatly increasing the number of calves that are produced and increasing your revenue. This increase does come with the cost of better management and is not useful for all situations.
Studying the genetics of twinning gives us a window into the genetic regulation of fertility in all cows - twinners and non-twinners. Understanding how cows get pregnant and stay pregnant will lead to better reproductive management for all cattle. Information from the cattle can be applied to other domestic species and even humans!
Like all management tools, there are pros and cons to twinning. Remember, not so long ago shepherds were against twins in sheep.