Maulsby, Richard Paul. (2010-07). Evaluation of Early Measures of Body Composition as Related to Beef Carcass Traits. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • Two similarly managed trials were conducted to investigate serial ultrasound measures of body composition (longissimus muscle area (ULMA), 12th - rib fat thickness (UFAT), and percentage of intramuscular fat (UIMF)) early in the lives of feeder calves as they compared to carcass traits. Group 1 cattle were Charolais-sired by Brahman-British crossbred dams whereas Group 2 cattle were purebred Beefmaster. Both groups were fed at the same commercial feedlot (Graham Land and Cattle Co.) in Gonzales, Texas. In both data sets classifications were developed for ribeye area of Lower (less than 70.95 cm2, Middle (between 70.95 cm2 and 90.3 cm2) and Upper (over 90.3 cm2) based on a range that fit within the ribeye specifications of such branded beef programs as Certified Angus Beef and Nolan Ryan?s Tender Aged Beef. Differences among ribeye area and quality grade (Choice vs. Select) categories were evaluated for ultrasound and carcass traits. As reported previously, correlations between ultrasound measures and carcass traits became larger at times closer to harvest. In both sets of cattle, there were no differences in fat thickness or intramuscular fat at the ultrasound scan sessions or in these carcass traits due to ribeye area category. The same trend for quality grade classification was not seen across both groups of cattle however. In Group 1, there were no differences in early measures of body composition between carcass quality grade classes except for ultrasound fat thickness at weaning. However, in Group 2 cattle there were differences in ultrasound fat at times 1 and 2, IMF at time 1, and ribeye area at time 2 between cattle that graded choice verses those that graded select. Correlations between ultrasound measures of REA (r of .26 to .50) and ultrasound REA and carcass REA (r of .16 to .81) appeared to be lower in Group 1 vs. Group 2 (r of .55, and .64 to 81 respectively). Results from this project imply that changes in ribeye area will not automatically result in changes of marbling and vice versa. Furthermore, these results also show that ultrasound is useful to help predict beef carcass traits, but that early measures of body composition used alone do not explain a large portion of the variation in the carcass measures and specific methods should be developed by different biological cattle types.

publication date

  • December 2009