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Divergent breeding values for fatness or residual feed intake in Angus cattle. 6. Dam-line impacts on steer carcass compliance

Deland, M.P.B., Accioly, J.M., Copping, K.J., Graham, J.F., Lee, S.J., McGilchrist, P. and Pitchford, W.S. (2018) Divergent breeding values for fatness or residual feed intake in Angus cattle. 6. Dam-line impacts on steer carcass compliance. Animal Production Science, 58 (1). pp. 94-102.

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The present study determined the impact of maternal genetics for estimated breeding values for rib fat (High-Fat, Low-Fat) or residual feed intake (RFI; High-RFI, Low-RFI) on the carcass compliance of Angus steer progeny when reared pre-weaning under High or Low-Nutrition and post-weaning under various finishing system (grazing versus short-term feedlot). The dams were joined to sires of similar genetic background (close to average estimated breeding values) and sires were rotated among all dam genotypes, with herds located at either Struan Research Centre, near Naracoorte in the south-east of South Australia, or Vasse Research Station, in the south-west of Western Australia. The breeding herd was part of the Beef CRC maternal productivity project and cows were managed under either High or Low-Nutrition, achieved by adjustments to stocking rate in rotational grazing systems and supplementary feeding, so as to maintain ~20% difference in cow liveweight. The steer progeny were weaned at ~7 months of age, with individuals from both pre-weaning nutritional treatments being treated the same from then on at each site. Steers from Struan Research Centre in South Australia born in 2008 and 2009 were sold and grown out on pasture on a local commercial property. Steer calves born in 2010 at Vasse remained on the station where they were backgrounded on hay, followed by a short period (111 days) total mixed ration containing 40% grain. In the first year, steers from Struan (n = 58) were slaughtered together at ~2 years of age, and in the second year (n = 85), consigned to six slaughter groups as their ultrasound-scanned subcutaneous P8 (rump) fat reached 7 mm and their liveweight exceeded 550 kg. Steers from Vasse (n = 101) were slaughtered at ~12 months of age, all on the same day. High-Fat-line dams produced steers with carcasses with greater P8 fat than did Low-Fat-line dams at both sites. At Struan, when the 2008-born steers were slaughtered together, more steers from Low-Fat dams failed to meet minimum fat specifications, than steers from High-Fat dams (28% vs 9% respectively). The steers born in 2009 at Struan all met processor fat specifications but steers from the Low-Fat dams took longer to reach the fat threshold, and so had greater carcass weight, but attracted more price penalties because of increased dentition. All steers from Vasse met minimum requirements for fat, with none penalised for dentition. Vasse steers from High- or Low-RFI dams performed in a manner similar to that from High- and Low-Fat dams, respectively, in that the High-RFI group produced fatter carcasses than did the Low-RFI group. Steers reared under low pre-weaning nutrition weighed less at weaning than did those on High-Nutrition, but had higher weight gains after weaning, although insufficient to result in the same carcass weight. The results showed that commercial cattle producers need to be aware of the balance and trade-off among fat breeding value, effect of pre-weaning nutrition and post-weaning growth required to ensure their cattle meet market specifications and to avoid price penalties.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © 2017 CSIRO
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