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item Riley, David
item Chase, Chadwick - Chad
item Hammond, Andrew - Andy
item WEST, R.
item JOHNSON, D.
item OLSON, T.
item Coleman, Samuel

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2002
Publication Date: 4/1/2002
Citation: Riley, D.G., Chase, C.C., Hammond, A.C., West, R.L., Johnson, D.D., Olson, T.A., Coleman, S.W. 2002. Estimated genetic parameters for carcass traits of brahman cattle. Journal of Animal Science. 80:955-962.

Interpretive Summary: Brahman crossbreds are an important part of cow-calf production in the Gulf Coast region of the United States, primarily because of their adaptability to hot, humid climates, high pest loads, and low quality forage. However, relatively large numbers of straightbred Brahman cattle are required to generate crossbred cows for various types of crossbreeding production systems. The production difficulties associated with straightbred Brahman cattle include inferior carcass yield and quality grade as compared with Bos taurus beef cattle. Knowledge of the degree of genetic control over these types of traits is necessary in order to design selection programs and assess their potential effectiveness. The objective of this study was to estimate heritabilities of and genetic correlations among these traits in Brahman steers and heifers: average daily gain in the feed yard, hip height at slaughter, slaughter weight, hot carcass weight, adjusted 12th rib fat thickness, loin muscle area, percentage kidney, pelvic, and heart fat, USDA yield and quality grade, dressing percentage, marbling score, cutability, retail yield, and carcass hump height. The percentage of the variation due to genetics in these traits was approximately the same (30 to 60%) as has been reported for other breeds of cattle. Brahman cattle have been frequently criticized for their lack of intramuscular fat deposition (marbling score, which in turn influences USDA quality grade). These results indicate that sires can be identified that excel in marbling and could be used to improve this trait relatively quickly in Brahman cattle, without antagonistic effects on other carcass traits.

Technical Abstract: Heritabilities, genetic and phenotypic correlations were estimated from data collected from Brahman calves (n = 504) in central Florida from 1996 to 2000. Data were analyzed using animal models. Models included contemporary group (n = 44; groups of calves of the same sex, fed in the same pen, slaughtered on the same day) as a fixed effect and calf age in days at slaughter as a continuous variable. Estimated feedlot trait heritabilities were 0.64, 0.67, 0.47, and 0.26 for ADG, hip height at slaughter, slaughter weight, and shrink. The USDA yield grade estimated heritability was 0.71; heritabilities for component traits of yield grade, including hot carcass weight, adjusted 12th rib backfat thickness, loin muscle area, and percentage kidney, pelvic, and heart fat were 0.55, 0.63, 0.44, and 0.46, respectively. Heritability estimates for dressing percentage, marbling score, USDA quality grade, cutability, retail yield, and carcass hump height were 0.77, 0.44, 0.47, 0.71, 0.5, and 0.54, respectively. Estimated genetic correlations of adjusted 12th rib backfat thickness with ADG, slaughter weight, marbling score, percentage kidney, pelvic, and heart fat, and yield grade (0.49, 0.46, 0.56, 0.63, and 0.93, respectively) were generally larger than most literature estimates. Estimated genetic correlations of marbling score with ADG, percentage shrink, loin muscle area, percentage kidney, pelvic, and heart fat, USDA yield grade, cutability, retail yield, and carcass hump height were 0.28, 0.49, 0.44, 0.27, 0.45, 0.43, 0.27, and 0.43, respectively. Results indicate that sufficient genetic variation exists within the Brahman breed for design and implementation of effective selection programs for important carcass quality and yield traits.