Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The beef industry is under increasing pressure to reduce 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 economically important traits. Carcass yield of saleable meat from steers produced by mating Hereford and Angus cows to Hereford, Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Pinzgauer, Shorthorn, Galloway, Longhorn, Nellore, Piedmontese, or Salers bulls were compared. Piedmontese-sired steers, which were expected to carry one copy of a major gene for muscle hypertrophy, had the highest retail product yields at 426 d of age (69.7%). Percentage retail product was greater in steers sired by Continental European breeds (63.3 to 65.5% at 0 cm trim) than in steers sired by British breeds (60.1 to 61.0%). Although carcass weights were significantly heavier for Charolais-sired steers than for Piedmontese- sired steers, lean growth rate, as reflected by totally trimmed retail product at 426 d, was similar for Piedmontese and Charolais-sired 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. However, among-breed differences may be more easily exploited than within-breed differences because they are more highly heritable, more easily identified, and less time is required. No breed excels in all traits, but carcasses from Piedmontese cross steers yielded the highest and carcasses from Shorthorn and Hereford x Angus crosses the lowest percentages of saleable meat.
Technical Abstract: Carcass cut-out yields of 888 steers obtained from mating Hereford and Angus cows to Hereford or Angus (HA), Charolais (Ch), Gelbvieh (Gb), Pinzgauer (Pz), Shorthorn (Sh), Galloway, (Gw), Longhorn (Lh), Nellore (Ne), Piedmontese (Pm), and Salers (Sa) sires were compared. Data were evaluated at constant age (426 d), carcass weight (324 kg), fat thickness (1.2 cm), fat trim percentage (23%), and marbling (Small**00) end points. Piedmontese-sired steers excelled in total retail product and fat trim percentages at all slaughter end points except at the 23% fat trim end point. At an age end point, percentage retail product was greater in steers sired by Continental European breeds (Gb, Ch, Sa, Pz; 63.3 to 65.5% at 0 cm trim) than in steers sired by British breeds (Sh, HA; 60.1 to 61.0%). Piedmontese-sired steers, which were expected to carry one copy of a major gene for muscle hypertrophy, had the highest retail product yields at an age end point (69.7%). At an age end point, although carcass weights were significantly heavier for Charolais-sired steers than for Piedmontese- sired steers, lean growth rate, as reflected by totally trimmed retail product at 426 d, was similar for Piedmontese and Charolais-sired steers. Differences among sire breeds were small for retail product percentage at marbling, fat thickness, and fat trim end points. Ranking of sire breeds for age-constant weight of retail product was: Ch, Pm, Gb, Sa, Ne, Pz, HA, Sh, Gw, and Lh. Piedmontese-sired steers produced the most muscular, leanest, and highest yielding carcasses, and HA- and Sh-sired steers produced the fattest, lowest yielding carcasses.