Beef on Dairy genomic evaluation for feed efficiency, methane emission and meat quality
Improving resource efficiency and meat quality as well as reducing the environmental impact from cattle industry, are important issues. Therefore, the aim of the FutureBeefCross (FBC) project is to show the genetic background of feed efficiency, methane emission and marbling score in young, crossbred calves. The aim is to implement breeding values for major beef breeds used to inseminate dairy cows. In this project, longitudinal daily dry mater intake and longitudinal body weight during 100 to 300 days of age were available for 4,400 crossbred animals with either Danish Blue, Charolais, or Angus sires and with Holstein dams. Feed intake is obtained by Allfeed system from Allflex. In addition, marbling score was obtained using image analysis. The basis was Q FOM™ images on 1,700 crossbred animals of Danish Blue sires and Holstein dams. Longitudinal daily dry matter intake and body weight were analyzed in a bivariate model with Legendre polynomials of days of age at the time of the test with first order for fixed, genetics, and permanent environment effects using Pedigree BLUP. Genetic parameters for marbling score were obtained from a univariate pedigree BLUP model. The genetic residual feed intake was measured as sum of daily dry matter intake minus the body weight gain and the mid body weight during the period of 200 to 280 days of age. The genetic residual feed intake has a moderate heritability of 0.21 and low genetic correlation of -0.12 with body weight gain and zero with mid body weight. The marbling score has low heritability of 0.15 which could be because the measured animals are young (10-12 months at slaughter). Breeding values for all traits will be implemented in 2023 and will act as a decision-making tool for AI organizations in selecting beef bulls that can improve farm profitability while meeting consumer demands.
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