Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R3057



Summary and Implications

Variance parameters including heritabilities, genetic and residual correlations are required for national cattle evaluation. There are huge amounts of data available for estimating such variance parameters for growth traits, but much less data is available for carcass traits. In this study, heritabilities and genetic correlations were estimated using restricted maximum likelihood on carcass weight (CWT), fat thickness (FAT), longissimus muscle area (LMA), marbling score (MRB), birth weight (BW), and ultrasound measurements of fat thickness (UFAT), longissimus muscle area (ULMA) and estimated percentage of intramuscular fat (UIMF) for crossbred cattle with carcass data recorded by the American Simmental Association. A multivariate animal model was fitted using ASREML4 software. The results demonstrate that UIMF measurements provide some useful information for carcass MRB (rg=0.73), but genetic correlations were only moderate between ULMA and LMA (0.56) and were weak between UFAT and FAT (0.38). The implications are that carcass measurements on progeny are the most reliable approach to evaluate carcass traits.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University