An index for beef and veal characteristics in dairy cattle based on carcass traits.

J.H.J. van der Werf, E.H. van der Waaij, A.F. Groen, G. de Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Carcass data are nowadays routinely collected from Dutch slaughterhouses. The aim of this study was to develop a selection index for beef production traits in a dairy cattle population based upon such data. Records were available from three categories of animals: veal calves, beef bulls, and cows culled from dairy herds. All animals originated from dairy or dual purpose breeds. Heritabilities for carcass traits on veal calves varied from 0.06 to 0.19; for bulls from 0.25 to 0.30, and for culled cows from 0.07 to 0.20. Economic values were determined from profit equations for each of the three categories and cumulative discounted expressions (CDE) were used to compare economic values of traits across groups. Relative to dairy traits, CDE were 0.55, 0.05 and 0.28 for traits on veal calves, beef bulls, and culled cows, respectively. The standard deviation of the resulting selection index was about 9% of the standard deviation of the net merit index for milk production traits. The largest amount of the total genetic gain is allocated to daily gain in veal production. In cows, carcass weight (with a negative economic value) and fleshiness were increased. The study shows that some additional genetic gain can be obtained by utilising routinely recorded carcass data
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
JournalLivestock Production Science
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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