Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2004

Genetic relationships between calving and carcass traits for Charolais and Hereford cattle in Sweden

Eriksson S, Nasholm A, Johansson K, Philipsson J


The objective of this study was to estimate genetic correlations between calving difficulty score and carcass traits in Charolais and Hereford cattle, treating first and later parity calvings as different traits. Genetic correlations between birth weight and carcass traits were also estimated. Field data on 59,182 Charolais and 27,051 Hereford calvings, and carcass traits of 5,260 Charolais and 1,232 Hereford bulls, were used in bivariate linear animal model analyses. Estimated heritabilities were moderate to high (0.22 to 0.50) for direct effects on birth weight, carcass weight, and (S)EUROP (European Community scale for carcass classification) grades for carcass fleshiness and fatness. Heritabilities of 0.07 to 0.18 were estimated for maternal effect on birth weight, and for direct and maternal effects on calving difficulty score at first parity. Lower heritabilities (0.01 to 0.05) were estimated for calving difficulty score at later parities. Carcass weight was positively genetically correlated (0. 11 to 0. 53) with both direct and maternal effects on birth weight and with direct effects on calving difficulty score. Carcass weight was, however, weakly or negatively (-0.70 to 0.07) correlated with maternal calving difficulty score. Higher carcass fatness grade was genetically associated with lower birth weight, and in most cases, also with less difficult calving. Genetic correlations with carcass fleshiness grade were highly variable. Moderately unfavorable correlations between carcass fleshiness grade and maternal calving difficulty score at first parity were estimated for both Charolais (0.42) and Hereford (0.54). This study found certain antagonistic genetic relationships between calving performance and carcass traits for both Charolais and Hereford cattle. Both direct and maternal calving performance, as well as carcass traits, should be included in the breeding goal and selected for in beef breeds

Published in

Journal of Animal Science
2004, Volume: 82, number: 8, pages: 2269-2276