Duration 3 years commencing April 1999
Team and Leader R W J Steen
Organisations Involved Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland
Background and Summary
The Northern Ireland beef industry produces a very varied product in terms of carcass weight, fatness, and conformation from animals with a wide range of genotypes.
Emphasis on vertical integration within the beef industry from producer to consumer to meet the standards of food safety, animal welfare, product quality and environmental protection now demanded by consumers, and by supermarkets acting on behalf of consumers, will necessitate the production of cattle on individual farms to meet specific requirements of one particular supermarket outlet. The genotype of the calf is a major determinant of weight, fatness and conformation of beef carcasses within a production system and hence is of prime importance when meeting specifications of quality and uniformity. Experience with pigs and poultry has shown that establishing appropriate genotypes is the first pre-requisite in the production of carcasses of appropriate quality and uniformity. The primary objective of this project is to examine the effects of the genotype of suckler cows and terminal sires on the suitability of their progeny to meet the specifications of specific market outlets under a range of production systems. The work would be undertaken on farms and in Meat Plants in Northern Ireland.
This project would identify the most appropriate genotype of suckler cows and terminal sires to produce cattle for specific market outlets, and also the most appropriate genotypes for suckler cows in terms of their maternal characteristics.