A key question for the implementation of marker-assisted selection (MAS) using markers in linkage disequilibrium with quantitative trait loci (QTLs) is how many markers surrounding each QTL should be used to ensure the marker or marker haplotypes are in sufficient linkage disequilibrium (LD) with the QTL. In this paper we compare the accuracy of MAS using either single markers or marker haplotypes in an Angus cattle data set consisting of 9323 genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genotyped in 379 Angus cattle. The extent of LD in the data set was such that the average marker–marker r2 was 0·2 at 200 kb. The accuracy of MAS increased as the number of markers in the haplotype surrounding the QTL increased, although only when the number of markers in the haplotype was 4 or greater did the accuracy exceed that achieved when the SNP in the highest LD with the QTL was used. A large number of phenotypic records (>1000) were required to accurately estimate the effects of the haplotypes.