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Kansas State University


Beef Research News
Brought to you by Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine - Farm Animal Section
December 2006






Hormone concentrations relative to carcass composition
Carcass characteristics (HCW, 12th-rib fat thickness, KPH, LM area, marbling score) and serum concentrations of leptin, IGF-I, and GH were collected from cattle (n = 995 steers and 757 heifers) to evaluate relationships between variables. Data was collected from randomly selected animals at a commercial slaughter line on four occasions. Blood was collected at exsanguination and carcass data was collected 24 h postmortem. Heifers had a significantly greater (p = 0.008) leptin concentration (11.9 ng/ml) than steers (10.9 ng/ml). Leptin concentration was positively correlated with marbling score (r = 0.28), 12th-rib fat depth (r = 0.37), KPH (r = 0.23), and USDA yield grade (r = 0.32). Negative correlations were found between leptin and IFG-I (r = -0.11; p < 0.001) and leptin and GH (r = -0.32; p < 0.001). A model separating least squares means across USDA quality grade determined that leptin concentration accounted for variation between the means. There was no difference observed in leptin concentrations between upper 2/3 choice and prime carcasses (12.9 and 14.2 ng/ml, respectively), but differences existed between USDA standard (8.5 ng/ml), select (10.3 ng/ml), low choice (12.2 ng/ml), and upper 2/3 choice/prime (> 12.9 ng/ml) carcasses. Relationships within endocrine profiles and between endocrine concentrations and carcass quality characteristics may prove to be a useful tool for the prediciton of beef carcass composition.

Brandt, M.M., Keisler, D.H., Meyer, D.L., Schmidt, T.B., and Berg, E.P. Serum hormone concentrations relative to carcass composition of a random allotment of commercial-fed beef cattle. J. Anim Sci. 85(1): 267-275

Voluntary National ID Program
The USDA recently released the latest draft of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) user guide. This new guide replaces previous versions and stresses that participation in the NAIS program is voluntary for producers. There is no Federal requirement for producers to participate in any aspect of the program. The guide states that a mandatory program is not necessary to achieve program goals, and as voluntary participation grows, there will be less need to make the program mandatory.
The NAIS plan is a State-Federal-industry partnership that continues to evolve and is still open for modifications. The guide also stated that federal law protects participant private information and confidential business information from disclosure.
Previous versions and communications from USDA included timelines for 100% premise and newborn animal registration (by January 2009). The recent version did not contain a timeline for levels of voluntary participation.
As the program is not mandatory, producers will need incentives to account for increased costs of participation. The document lists benefits of participation to include: a better ability to protect premises and livelihood, better positioned for market access and marketing opportunities, and better equipped to reduce hardships due to animal disease events.
The NAIS user guide can be found on the web at:



Effect of certified health programs on sale price of beef calves
A longitudinal study of 26,502 sale lots of over 3 million head of cattle was performed to quantify effects of certified health programs on the sale price of beef calves sold through a livestock videotape auction service. Data describing calves marketed from 1995 through 2005 was used to generate multiple regression analysis to quantify effect of certified health programs on sale price. Beef calves that qualified for the two most rigorous certified health programs sold for significantly higher prices in each year of the study compared to calves that were not in a certified health program, had not been vaccinated against respiratory tract viruses, and were not weaned before delivery. Price premiums for calves in the most intensive certified program ranged from $2.47/cwt in 1995 to $7.91/cwt in 2004. The percentage of lots enrolled in the two most intensive programs increased over the period of study. Thus, this study found a premium was paid for a specific level of preconditioning and participation in the programs increased over this 11 year period.

King, M.E., Salman, M.D., Wittum, T.E., Odde, K.G., Seeger, J.T., Grotelueschen, D.M., Rogers, G.M., Quakenbush, G.A. Effect of certified health programs on the sale price of beef calves marketed through a livestock videotape auction service from 1995 through 2005. J. Am Vet Med Assoc 229(9): 1389-1400

Validation of commercial DNA tests for quantitative beef quality traits

The U.S. national Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium determined associations between 3 commercially-available genetic marker panels (GeneSTAR Quality Grade, GeneSTAR Tenderness, and Ingenity TenderGENE) and quantitative beef traits. The validation was performed to provide independent evaluation and confirmation of associations between genetic tests and phenotypes. Quality grade validation was performed on 400 Charolais x Angus cattle, and tenderness was evaluated on over 1000 Bos Taurus and Bos indicus cattle. The GeneSTAR Quality grade is being marketed as a test associated with marbling and quality grade. Genotype results from this test were not associated with marbling score in this study, but association of substituting favorable alleles of the marker panel with increased quality grade approached significance (p < 0.06). The GeneSTAR Tenderness and Igenity TenderGENE marker panels are marketed as tests associated with meat tenderness as assessed by Warner-Bratzler shear force. Both panels had highly significant (p < 0.001) associations with calpastatin marker and μ-calpain haplotype with tenderness. Independent validation studies are important to help build confidence in marker technology and also represent a source of data required to enable the integration of marker data into genetic evaluations.

Van Eenennaam, A.L., Li, J., Thallman, R.M., Quaas, R.L., Dikeman, M.E., Gill, C.A., Franke, D.E., Thomas, M.G. Validation of commercial DNA tests for quantitative beef quality traits. J. Anim Sci. published online first 12/18/06, doi: 10.2527.

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For more information please contact:
Brad White
Beef Production Medicine
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Manhattan, KS 66506