Manipulation of cattle growth to target carcass quality.
Two trials were conducted in 1996/1997 and 1997/1998 at the Beef Research Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, to determine the effects of breed type, backgrounding program and backfat end point (USBFEP) as determined by ultrasound on the performance and carcass characteristics of feedlot steers. Trial 1 utilized 144 large-framed Charolais- (304.6±16.3 kg) and 144 medium-framed Hereford-cross steers (294.8±20.9 kg). Trial 2 utilized 88 medium-framed Angus (289.5±15.0 kg), 88 large-framed Charolais- (299.8±17.7 kg) and 88 medium-framed Hereford-cross (291.1±20.9 kg) steers. Within breed type, short- (70 d) or long-term (126 d) backgrounding programs (Trial 1) and 6- or 12-mm USBFEP (Trials 1 and 2) were assigned. In both trials, carcass size was greater (P<0.05) for the large-framed Charolais-cross steers, longer backgrounding and fatter USBFEP treatments. Lean meat yield was greater (P<0.05) for Charolais- than Hereford-cross steers (Trial 1) and for the leaner USBFEP (Trials 1 and 2). Marbling was greater (P<0.05) for Angus- (Trial 2) and Charolais- (Trials 1 and 2) than Hereford-cross steers (Trials 1 and 2) and for the fatter end point (Trials 1 and 2). It was concluded that breed type, backgrounding program and USBFEP were effective in altering growth and could be used to target carcass traits of interest for value-based marketing programs.