Using real-time ultrasound and carcass measurements to estimate total internal fat in beef cattle over different breed types and managements. Academic Article uri icon


  • The objective of this study was to re-evaluate our previously published technique of estimating total physically separable internal fat (IFAT) in beef cattle using real-time ultrasound (RTU) and carcass measurements from live animals by including more breed types and genders under different management scenarios. We expanded the original database and performed additional analyses. The database was gathered from 4 studies and contained 110 animals (16 bulls, 16 heifers, and 78 steers), being Angus (n = 56), Angus 5/8 Angus 3/8 Nellore (n = 18), and Angus crossbreds (n = 36). Ultrasound measurements were obtained 7 d before slaughter, including the 12th to 13th rib fat thickness (uBF) and ultrasound kidney fat depth (uKFd). The uKFd was measured in a cross-sectional image collected between the first lumbar and 13th rib as previously published. Carcass data were collected 48 h post-mortem and consisted of backfat thickness (cBF), kidney fat depth (cKFd) and KPH weight, live BW, and HCW. Whole gastrointestinal tracts were removed and dissected to obtain IFAT weights. Weight of IFAT was highly correlated with KPH weight (0.88) and cKFd (0.81) and moderately correlated with uKFd (0.71). Prediction equations were developed for estimating IFAT, KPH weight, and cKFd with the PROC REG of SAS using the stepwise statement. The best predictors of IFAT were KPH weight or cKFd and cBF (r(2) = 0.84 and 0.83 and root mean square errors (RMSE) of 4.23 and 4.33 kg, respectively). Ultrasound measurements of uKFd and uBF had an r(2) of 0.65 and RMSE of 6.07 kg when both were used to predict IFAT. The results of cross-validation analyses indicated that equations developed either with KPH weight or cKFd weight and cBF had greater precision than the equation developed with uKFd and uBF. Most of the errors associated with the mean square error of prediction were due to random, uncontrolled variation. These results were consistent with previously published evaluation of this technique. These findings confirm that this RTU technique allows the measurement of IFAT in a non-invasive way that may improve our ability to estimate IFAT in beef cattle, be used to more accurately formulate rations, and be applied in sorting cattle at feedyard.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Ribeiro, F., & Tedeschi, L. O.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Ribeiro, FRB||Tedeschi, LO

publication date

  • September 2012