Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2004
Publication Date: 1/20/2005
Citation: Wheeler, T.L., Cundiff, L.V., Shackelford, S.D., Koohmaraie, M. 2005. Characterization of biological types of cattle (Cycle VII): Carcass, yield, and longissimus palatability traits. Journal of Animal Science. 83:196-207. 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 provide a current evaluation of the seven most prominent beef breeds in the U.S. and to determine the relative changes that have occurred in these breeds since they were evaluated with samples of sires born 25 to 30 years earlier. This experiment determined 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 bulls from three British breeds (Hereford, Angus, and Red Angus) and four Continental European breeds (Charolais, Limousin, Simmental, and Gelbvieh). Red Angus and Angus steers had a greater percentage of carcasses grading USDA Choice and lower yields of retail product than did carcasses from other sire breeds. Few breed differences were found in ribeye steak eating quality. Continental European breeds were still leaner, heavier muscled, and had higher yielding carcasses than British breeds with less marbling than Angus or Red Angus, but British breeds have caught up in growth rate. These data provide producers with additional information when deciding which sire breeds will maximize profit potential in their production situation.
Technical Abstract: The objective of this experiment was to provide a current evaluation of the seven most prominent beef breeds in the U.S. and to determine the relative changes that have occurred in these breeds since they were evaluated with samples of sires born 25 to 30 years earlier. Carcass (n = 649), yield (n = 569), and longissimus thoracis palatability (n = 569) traits from F1 steers obtained from mating Hereford, Angus, and MARC III cows to Hereford (H), Angus (A), Red Angus (RA), Charolais (C), Limousin (L), Simmental (S), or Gelbvieh (G) sires were compared. Data were adjusted to constant age (445 d), carcass weight (363 kg), fat thickness (1.1 cm), fat trim percentage (25%), and marbling (Small35) end points. For Warner-Bratzler shear force and trained sensory panel traits, data were obtained on longissimus thoracis from ribeye steaks stored at 2 deg C for 14 d postmortem. The following comparisons were from the age-constant end point. Carcasses from L-, G-, and H-sired steers (361, 363, and 364 kg, respectively) were lighter (P < 0.05) than carcasses from steers from all other sire breeds. Adjusted fat thickness for carcasses from A-, RA-, and H-sired steers (1.5, 1.4, and 1.3 cm, respectively) was higher (P < 0.05) than carcasses from steers from all other sire breeds (0.9 cm). Longissimus areas were largest (P < 0.05) for carcasses from L-, C-, S-, and G-sired steers (89.9, 88.7, 87.6, and 86.5 cm2, respectively) and smallest for carcasses from H- and RA-sired steers (79.5 and 78.4 cm2). A greater (P < 0.05) percentage of carcasses from RA- and A-sired steers graded USDA Choice (90 and 88%, respectively) than carcasses from other sire breeds (57 to 66%). Carcass yield of boneless, totally trimmed retail product was lowest (P < 0.05) for RA- and A-sired steers (59.1 and 59.2%, respectively) and highest (P > 0.05) for G-, L-, C-, and S-sired steers (63.0 to 63.8%). Longissimus from carcasses of A-sired steers (4.0 kg) had lower (P < 0.05) Warner-Bratzler shear force values than longissimus from carcasses of G- and C-sired steers (4.5 to 4.3 kg, respectively). Trained sensory panel tenderness and beef flavor intensity ratings for longissimus were not different (P > 0.05) among the sire breeds. Continental European breeds (C, L, S, and G) were still leaner, heavier muscled, and had higher yielding carcasses than British breeds (H, A, and RA) with less marbling than A or RA, but British breeds have caught up in growth rate.