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Carcass traits of young bulls in dual-purpose cattle: genetic parameters and genetic correlations with veal calf, type and production traits

  • I. Croué (a1) (a2), M. N. Fouilloux (a1), R. Saintilan (a3) and V. Ducrocq (a2)


The profitability of dual-purpose breeding farms can be increased through genetic improvement of carcass traits. To develop a genetic evaluation of carcass traits of young bulls, breed-specific genetic parameters were estimated in three French dual-purpose breeds. Genetic correlations between these traits and veal calf, type and milk production traits were also estimated. Slaughter performances of 156 226 Montbeliarde, 160 361 Normande and 8691 Simmental young bulls were analyzed with a multitrait animal model. In the three breeds, heritabilities were moderate for carcass weight (0.12 to 0.19±0.01 to 0.04) and carcass conformation (0.21 to 0.26±0.01 to 0.04) and slightly lower for age at slaughter (0.08 to 0.17±0.01 to 0.03). For all three breeds, genetic correlations between carcass weight and carcass conformation were moderate and favorable (0.30 to 0.52±0.03 to 0.13). They were strong and favorable (−0.49 to −0.71±0.05 to 0.15) between carcass weight and age at slaughter. Between age at slaughter and carcass conformation, they were low and unfavorable to moderate and favorable (−0.25 to 0.10±0.06 to 0.18). Heavier young bulls tend to be better conformed and slaughtered earlier. Genetic correlations between corresponding young bulls and veal production traits were moderate and favorable (0.32 to 0.70±0.03 to 0.09), implying that selecting sires for veal calf production leads to select sires producing better young bulls. Genetic correlations between young bull carcass weight and cow size were moderately favorable (0.22 to 0.45±0.04 to 0.10). Young bull carcass conformation had moderate and favorable genetic correlations (0.11 to 0.24±0.04 to 0.10) with cow width but moderate and unfavorable genetic correlations (−0.21 to −0.36±0.03 to 0.08) with cow height. Taller cows tended to produce heavier young bulls and thinner cows to produce less conformed ones. Genetic correlations between carcass traits of young bulls and cow muscularity traits were low to moderate and favorable. Finally, genetic correlations between carcass traits of young bulls and milk production traits were low and unfavorable to moderate and favorable. These results indicate the existence for all three breeds of genetic variability for the genetic improvement of carcass traits of young bulls as well as favorable genetic correlations for their simultaneous selection and no strong unfavorable correlation with milk production traits.


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