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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Meat Safety and Quality » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #151819


item Wheeler, Tommy
item Cundiff, Larry
item Shackelford, Steven
item Koohmaraie, Mohammad

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/13/2003
Publication Date: 4/12/2004
Citation: Wheeler, T.L., Cundiff, L.V., Shackelford, S.D., Koohmaraie, M. 2004. Characterization of biological types of cattle (Cycle VI): carcass, yield, and longissimus palatability traits. Journal of Animal Science. 82:1177-1189.

Interpretive Summary: The beef industry is under increasing pressure to improve the consistency of beef by reducing fat while improving palatability of beef products. One way to accomplish this is to utilize breeds of cattle that will more closely meet product targets. This project was designed to determine differences among beef breeds for carcass traits and ribeye steak eating quality by evaluating carcasses of steers produced by mating Hereford, Angus and MARC III cows to Hereford, Angus, Norwegian Red, Swedish Red and White, Friesian, and Wagyu bulls. Wagyu cross steers had the highest percentage of USDA Choice yield grade 1 and 2 carcasses, were among the highest in ribeye tenderness, had greater retail product yield than the British cross steers, but their carcasses were the lightest. The Scandinavian cross steers had greater retail product yields, similar ribeye tenderness, higher percentage of USDA Choice yield grade 1 and 2 carcasses, but lighter carcasses than the British cross steers. Because of the large variation within and among breeds for most traits, significant genetic change could result from selection both among and within breeds. These data provide producers with additional information when deciding which sire breeds will maximize profit potential in their production situation.

Technical Abstract: Carcass (n = 568) and longissimus thoracis palatability (n = 460) traits from F1 steers obtained from mating Hereford, Angus, and MARC III cows to Hereford (H) or Angus (A), Norwegian Red and Swedish Red and White (NS), Friesian (F), or Wagyu (W) sires were compared. Data were adjusted to constant age (471 d), carcass weight (356 kg), fat thickness (1.0 cm), fat trim percentage (24%), and marbling (Small 40) end points. Norwegian Red-Swedish Red and White were considered the same breed because their herd books are open to one another. For Warner-Bratzler shear force and trained sensory panel traits, data were obtained on longissimus thoracis from ribeye steaks stored at 2°C for 14 d postmortem. Carcasses from H- and A-sired steers (377 and 374 kg, respectively) were the heaviest (P < 0.05) and carcasses from W-sired steers (334 kg) were the lightest (P < 0.05). A greater (P < 0.05) percentage of carcasses from A- and W-sired steers graded USDA Choice (88 and 85%, respectively) than carcasses from other sire breeds (52 to 71%). Adjusted fat thickness for carcasses from A-sired steers (1.3 cm) was highest (P < 0.05), followed by H-sired steers (1.1 cm), then W- and F-sired steers (0.9 cm), and NS-sired steers (0.8 cm) had the lowest. Longissimus area was not different (P > 0.05) among sire breeds (mean = 80.6 sq cm). Carcass yield of boneless, totally trimmed retail product was lowest (P < 0.05) for A-sired steers (60.1%), intermediate for H-sired steers (61.5%), and similar (P > 0.05) for all other sire breeds (62.5 to 62.8%). Longissimus from carcasses of A- (3.7 kg) and W- (3.7 kg) sired steers had lower (P < 0.05) shear force values than longissimus from other sire breeds (4.1 to 4.2 kg). Trained sensory panel tenderness, juiciness, or beef flavor intensity ratings for longissimus were not different (P > 0.05) among the sire breeds. Relative to the other sire breeds, W-sired steers had the highest percentage of USDA Choice yield grade 1 and 2 carcasses, but their carcasses were the lightest.