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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improving the Efficiency of Sheep Production in Western Rangeland Production Systems

Location: Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research

Title: Evaluation of Columbia, USMARC-Composite, Suffolk and Texel rams as terminal sires in an extensive rangeland production system: VII. Accuracy of ultrasound predictors and their association with carcass weight, yield and value

Authors
item Notter, David -
item Mousel, Michelle
item Leeds, Timothy
item Zerby, Henry -
item Moeller, Steven -
item Lewis, Gregory
item Taylor, Joshua

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2014
Publication Date: April 21, 2014
Repository URL: http://www.journalofanimalscience.org/content/92/5/1980.full?sid=057baf48-ba73-4f56-8efc-5d3e0762cf10
Citation: Notter, D.R., Mousel, M.R., Leeds, T.D., Zerby, H.N., Moeller, S.J., Lewis, G.S., Taylor, J.B. 2014. Evaluation of Columbia, USMARC-Composite, Suffolk and Texel rams as terminal sires in an extensive rangeland production system: VII. Accuracy of ultrasound predictors and their association with carcass weight, yield and value. Journal of Animal Science. 92(6):2402-2414.

Interpretive Summary: This study indicates that ultrasound measurements of back fat and loin-muscle area in live lambs are useful predictors of actual carcass back fat and loin-muscle and can also be used to predict carcass yield and value. Ultrasound measurements of back fat and loin-muscle in live lambs were superior to linear measurements on live animals or unribbed carcasses as predictors of carcass yield and value. Use of ultrasound in live animals can thus support value-based marketing of live lambs and genetic improvement of carcass value.

Technical Abstract: Use of lamb body or chilled carcass weights; live-animal ultrasound or direct carcass measurements of backfat thickness (BF; mm) and LM area (LMA; cm2); and carcass body wall thickness (BWall; mm) to predict carcass yield and value was evaluated using 512 crossbred lambs produced over 3 yr by mating Columbia, USMARC Composite, Suffolk, and Texel rams to adult Rambouillet ewes. Lambs were harvested at 3 BW endpoints within each year. The predictive value of 3 to 5 additional linear measurements of live-animal or carcass size and shape was also evaluated. Residual correlations (adjusted for effects of year, breed, and harvest group) between ultrasound and direct measurements were 0.69 for BF and 0.65 for LMA. Increasing ultrasound or carcass LMA had positive effects (P < 0.001) on yield of chilled carcass (i.e., on dressing percentage) and, at comparable chilled carcass weights (CCW), on weights of high-value cuts (rack, loin, leg, and sirloin) before (HVW) and after (HVTrW) trimming, and on carcass value before (CVal) and after (TrCVal) trimming of high-value cuts. By contrast, ultrasound and direct measures of BF had positive effects on yields of CCW and on HVW and CVal, but large negative effects on TrHVW and TrCVal. After adjusting for off-test BW, increases of 1 mm in ultrasound BF or 1 cm2 in ultrasound LMA were associated with changes of -$0.32 (P < 0.10) and $1.62 (P < 0.001), respectively, in TrCVal. Carcass BWall was generally superior to carcass BF as a predictor of TrHVW and TrCVal. Carcass LMA was superior to ultrasound LMA but carcass BF was inferior to ultrasound BF for prediction of carcass yield and value. Increasing LMA thus would be expected to improve carcass yield and value. Addition of linear measurements of live-animal or carcass size and shape to the prediction model reduced residual SD (RSD) for TrHVW and TrCVal by 0.4 to 2.2%, but subsequent removal of ultrasound or direct measures of BF and LMA from the prediction model increased RSD by 7.4 to 12.2%. Measurements of CCW, LMA, BF, and BWall would thus be appropriate to support programs for value-based marketing of lamb carcasses and are superior to systems based only on measurements of size and shape in unribbed carcasses.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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