Breeding Values for Carcass Traits at Calf Markets as Determinant of Feeding Length in Japanese Black Cattle: an Exploratory Study

  • Ogino, A. (National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science) ;
  • Kaku, K. (National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science) ;
  • Fujita, T. (Shimane Prefectural Livestock Breeding Center) ;
  • Kitamura, C. (Shimane Prefectural Animal Husbandry Experimental Station) ;
  • Shimada, K. (National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science)
  • Received : 2002.09.17
  • Accepted : 2003.02.03
  • Published : 2003.05.01


Japanese Black cattle (Wagyu) are fed for a long period to produce high quality beef, however, extended feeding often causes inefficiency and greater environmental load mainly derived from their manure. The objectives of this study were to analyze changes in feeding length by listing breeding values (BVs) at calf markets and the relationships between BVs and carcass characteristics of 4,052 Japanese Black cattle, and to examine the feasibility of optimizing feeding length by referring to listed BVs. BV classes A, B, and C were defined based on BVs of cows in Shimane Prefecture as follows: an upper quarter of BVs was classified as A, a second quarter as B, and under the average as C. For cattle sold at calf markets in the first term of 1996, just before the start of BV listing, the feeding length of cattle with class B BVs for the beef marbling standard (BMS) was longer (p>0.05) than that of class A cattle. However, in the second term of 1996, just after the start of BV listing, the feeding length of class B cattle became shorter (p<0.001) than that of class A cattle. Then, the feeding lengths of both classes showed no significant differences. Feeding lengths of both class A and B BVs for carcass weight (CW) changed similarly to the corresponding BV classes for BMS. The analysis of the relationships among the listed BV classes and the actual carcass characteristics showed that class A cattle had a higher (p<0.001) BMS than class B cattle, and that the higher-class cattle had a heavier CW (p<0.05). On the basis of previous reports, the cattle, particularly those with lower genetic marbling ability, seem to only increase marbling at markedly low efficiency for a few months before slaughter. Therefore, the finding that carcass characteristics corresponded to their class of BVs suggests that an optimum feeding length based on listed BVs not only increases the efficiency of beef production, but also reduces the environmental load.


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