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Selection for Marbling Works

Livestock Update, September 1996

Ike Eller, Animal & Poultry Sciences

According to research recently reported by scientists at The University of Nebraska, selection of bulls for marbling based on marbling EPDs works. This finding is based on a 2 year study where 6 high marbling Angus bulls with marbling EPDs above .4 and 6 low marbling bulls with EPDs below -.16, when bred to crossbred cows which were 1/4 Hereford, 1/4 Simmental, 1/4 Angus and 1/4 Gelbvieh, produced significant marbling differences and thus, quality grade differences in their progeny. Calves from the high marbling EPDs bulls graded 74% choice versus 47% choice for calves sired by the low marbling bulls. Between the high and low marbling groups, there was no difference in fat thickness, USDA yield grade, carcass weight, daily gain or feed efficiency. This research would indicate that sire selection for marbling and thus carcass quality grade can be quite effective.

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