Phenotypic and genetic relationships of feeding behavior with feed intake, growth performance, feed efficiency, and carcass merit traits in Angus and Charolais steers.

Chen, L., Mao, F., Crews, Jr., D.H., Vinsky, M.D., and Li, C. (2014). "Phenotypic and genetic relationships of feeding behavior with feed intake, growth performance, feed efficiency, and carcass merit traits in Angus and Charolais steers.", Journal of Animal Science, 92(3), pp. 974-983. doi : 10.2527/jas.2013-6926  Access to full text

Abstract

Feeding behavior traits including daily feeding duration (FD), daily feeding head down time (HD), average feeding duration per feeding event (FD_AVE), average feeding head down time per feeding event (HD_AVE), feeding frequency (FF), and meal eating rate (ER) were analyzed to estimate their phenotypic and genetic correlations with feed intake, growth performance, residual feed intake (RFI), ultrasound, and carcass merit traits in Angus and Charolais finishing steers. Heritability estimates for FD, HD, FD_AVE, HD_AVE, FF, and ER were 0.27 ± 0.09 (SE), 0.25 ± 0.09, 0.19 ± 0.06, 0.11 ± 0.05, 0.24 ± 0.08, and 0.38 ± 0.10, respectively, in the Angus population and 0.49 ± 0.12, 0.38 ± 0.11, 0.31 ± 0.09, 0.29 ± 0.10, 0.43 ± 0.11, and 0.56 ± 0.13, respectively, in the Charolais population. In both the Angus and Charolais steer populations, FD and HD had relatively stronger phenotypic (0.17 ± 0.06 to 0.32 ± 0.04) and genetic (0.29 ± 0.17 to 0.54 ± 0.18) correlations with RFI in comparison to other feeding behavior traits investigated, suggesting the potential of FD and HD as indicators in assessing variation of RFI. In general, feeding behavior traits had weak phenotypic correlations with most of the ultrasound and carcass merit traits; however, estimated genetic correlations of the feeding behavior traits with some fat deposition related traits were moderate to moderately strong but differed in magnitude or sign between the Angus and Charolais steer populations, likely reflecting their different biological types. Genetic parameter estimation studies involving feeding behavior traits in beef cattle are lacking and more research is needed to better characterize the relationships between feeding behavior and feed intake, growth, feed utilization, and carcass merit traits, in particular with respect to different biological types of cattle.

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