CAB Insider: Promising Efficiency and Marbling Results

A recently published study from the University of Georgia evaluated selection for feed efficiency and marbling traits in the Angus breed. Detweiler, et. al., selected Angus sires based on high and low Residual Average Daily Gain (RADG) expected progeny differences (EPDs). For 3 years, steer progeny were tested for feedlot performance and carcass quality traits. The RADG EPD for registered Angus cattle is a predictor of the sire’s genetic ability for postweaning gain in future progeny, given a constant amount of feed consumption. A higher number suggests greater daily gain and efficient feed conversion. The “high” and “low” RADG sires were further sorted into “high” and “low” marbling EPD groups, with the “low” marbling EPDs actually close to the Angus breed average. To mitigate interactions from growth traits, sires were selected with similar growth EPDs. The findings were favorable toward using both RADG and marbling EPDs as indicators for genetic improvement. There were no negative interactions between either of these traits with other important performance and carcass characteristics. The “high” and “low” RADG steers did not produce differing outcomes in terms of dry matter intake or daily gain. However, residual feed intake, (predicted feed intake based on measured growth) was lower and statistically significant for the “high” RADG steers. Stated plainly, two separate and different measures for feed efficiency showed a positive correlation in the study. The “Gain:Feed” ratio (presented backwards compared to industry norms) was higher (better), but not statistically significant, for the “high” RADG steers and the “high”…

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