Genetic parameters for EUROP carcass traits within different groups of cattle in Ireland

J.M. Hickey, M.G. Keane, D.A. Kenny, A.R. Cromie, R.F. Veerkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The first objective of this study was to test the ability of systems of weighing and classifying bovine carcasses used in commercial abattoirs in Ireland to provide information that can be used for the purposes of genetic evaluation of carcass weight, carcass fatness class, and carcass conformation class. Secondly, the study aimed to test whether genetic and phenotypic variances differed by breed of sire. Variance components for carcass traits were estimated for crosses between dairy cows and 8 breeds of sire commonly found in the Irish cattle population. These 8 breeds were Aberdeen Angus, Belgian Blue, Charolais, Friesian, Hereford, Holstein, Limousin, and Simmental. A multivariate animal model was used to estimate genetic parameters within the Holstein sire breed group. Univariate analyses were used to estimate variance components for the remaining 7 sire breed groups. Multivariate sire models were used to formally test differences in genetic variances in sire breed groups. Field data on 64,443 animals, which were slaughtered in commercial abattoirs between the ages of 300 and 875 d, were analyzed in 8 analyses. Carcass fat class and carcass conformation class were measured using the European Union beef carcass classification system (EUROP) scale. For all 3 traits, the sire breed group with the greatest genetic variance had a value of more than 8 times the sire breed group with least genetic variance. Heritabilities ranged from zero to moderate for carcass fatness class (0.00 to 0.40), from low to moderate for carcass conformation class (0.04 to 0.36), and from low to high for carcass weight (0.06 to 0.65). Carcass weight was the most heritable (0.26) of the 3 traits. Carcass conformation class and carcass fatness class were equally heritable (0.17). Genetic and phenotypic correlations were all positive in the Holstein sire breed group. The genetic correlations varied from 0.11 for the relationship between carcass weight and carcass fatness class to 0.44 for the relationship between carcass conformation class and carcass fatness class. Carcass weight and classification data collected in Irish abattoirs are useful for the purposes of genetic evaluation for beef traits of Irish cattle. There were significantly different variance components across the sire breed groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-321
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume85
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • dairy-cattle
  • finnish ayrshire
  • milk-production
  • quality traits
  • beef traits
  • model
  • records
  • growth
  • bulls

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