The Use of Serial Ultrasound Evaluation of Body Composition Traits to Predict Performance Endpoints in Commercial Beef Cattle
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Bos indicus influenced primiparous heifers (n = 300) and yearling Beefmaster heifers (n = 172) were evaluated to determine relationships between serial carcass ultrasound traits and ability to breed in short (45 to 90 d) breeding seasons. Data collected included carcass ultrasound traits: ribeye area (REA), intramuscular fat (IMF), rump fat (UFAT), ribfat, weight, and body condition score taken at yearling age, pregnancy determination, before breeding, and after the breeding season when pregnancy status was recorded. A logistic regression analysis was used to determine the influence of ultrasound traits and body condition on pregnancy status. Odds ratios suggested the likelihood of primiparous cattle rebreeding would have been increased by 93% if IMF would have averaged 3.5% instead of 2.5% as yearlings, or an increase in the average ribfat as yearlings from 0.287 to 0.387 cm would have increased the odds of rebreeding by 88%. Increased average body condition score of 6.5 rather than 5.5 at 30 days postpartum in primiparous cows was estimated to have increased rebreeding 367%. The odds of yearling Beefmaster heifers successfully breeding during a 45-day season would have been increased by 73% (year 1) or 274% (year 2) by increasing REA 6.4 to 6.5 cm^2 at a year of age. Steers were serially scanned beginning at approximately 265 kg of body weight through harvest in 56 day +/- 6 intervals. Data collected included ultrasound measurements (ribeye area (REA), 12th rib fat thickness (RibFat), percent intramuscular fat (IMF), and rump fat (UFAT)), weight, and carcass data. Days to choice was calculated for each steer based on a linear regression. The IMF deposition was quantified as quadratic from scans 1-6 and linear when cattle were on full feed. Prediction models at scans 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 yielded R-square values of 0.20, 0.25, 0.41, 0.48, 0.59, and 0.49, respectively for days to choice. Odds ratios suggested that if steers in this study had averaged 3.78% at day 0 rather than 2.78, the odds of cattle grading premium choice or greater would have been increased by 300%.
Clement, Sorrel A. (2009). The Use of Serial Ultrasound Evaluation of Body Composition Traits to Predict Performance Endpoints in Commercial Beef Cattle. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from