Effects of genetic merit for carcass weight, breed type and slaughter weight on performance and carcass traits of beef × dairy steers
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CitationM. G. Keane, P. G. Dunne, D. A. Kenny and D. P. Berry (2011). Effects of genetic merit for carcass weight, breed type and slaughter weight on performance and carcass traits of beef × dairy steers. animal, 5, pp 182-194. doi:10.1017/S1751731110001758.
AbstractCrossbreeding of Holstein–Friesian dairy cows with both early maturing (e.g. Aberdeen Angus (AA)) and late maturing (e.g. Belgian Blue (BB)) beef breeds is commonly practised. In Ireland, genetic merit for growth rate of beef sires is expressed as expected progeny difference for carcass weight (EPDCWT). The objective of this study was to compare the progeny of Holstein–Friesian cows, sired by AA and BB bulls of low (L) and high (H) EPDCWT for performance and carcass traits. A total of 118 spring-born male progeny from 20 (9 AA and 11 BB) sires (8 L and 12 H) were managed together from shortly after birth to about 19 months of age. They were then assigned to one of two mean slaughter weights (560 kg (light) or 620 kg (heavy)). Following slaughter, carcasses were graded for conformation class and fat class, the 6th to 10th ribs joint was dissected as an indicator of carcass composition, and samples of subcutaneous fat and musculus longissimus were subjected to Hunterlab colour measurements. A sample of m. longissimus was also chemically analysed. Slaughter and carcass weights per day of age for AAL, AAH, BBL and BBH were 747, 789, 790 and 805 (s.e. 10.5) g, and 385, 411, 427 and 443 (s.e. 4.4) g, respectively. Corresponding carcass weight, kill-out proportion, carcass conformation class (scale 1 to 5) and carcass fat class (scale 1 to 5) values were 289, 312, 320 and 333 (s.e. 4.0) kg, 516, 522, 542 and 553 (s.e. 3.5) g/kg, 2.5, 2.4, 3.0 and 3.1 (s.e. 0.10), and 3.4, 3.5, 2.9 and 2.8 (s.e. 0.11). There were few breed type3genetic merit interactions. Delaying slaughter date increased slaughter weight, carcass weight and all measures of fatness. It also reduced the proportion of carcass weight in the hind quarter and the proportions of bone and muscle in the ribs joint. None of these effects accompanied the increase in carcass weight due to higher EPDCWT. It is concluded that BB have superior production traits to AA. Selection of sires for higher EPDCWT increases growth rate, kill-out proportion and carcass weight of progeny with little effect on carcass or muscle traits. The extra carcass weight due to higher EPDCWT is more valuable commercially than a comparable carcass weight increment from a delay in slaughter date because it comprises a higher proportion of muscle.