Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 2002


Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2002. 80:3107–3111.


Estimates of heritabilities and genetic correlations were obtained for weaning weight records of 23,681 crossbred steers and heifers and carcass records from 4,094 crossbred steers using animal models. Carcass traits included hot carcass weight; retail product percentage; fat percentage; bone percentage; ribeye area; adjusted fat thickness; marbling score, Warner- Bratzler shear force and kidney, pelvic and heart fat percentage. Weaning weight was modeled with fixed effects of age of dam, sex, breed combination, and birth year, with calendar birth day as a covariate and random direct and maternal genetic and maternal permanent environmental effects. The models for carcass traits included fixed effects of age of dam, line, and birth year, with covariates for weaning and slaughter ages and random direct and maternal effects. Direct and maternal heritabilities for weaning weight were 0.4 ± 0.02 and 0.19 ± 0.02, respectively. The estimate of direct-maternal genetic correlation for weaning weight was negative (−0.18 ± 0.08). Heritabilities for carcass traits of steers were moderate to high (0.34 to 0.60). Estimates of genetic correlations between direct genetic effects for weaning weight and carcass traits were small except with hot carcass weight (0.70), ribeye area (0.29), and adjusted fat thickness (0.26). The largest estimates of genetic correlations between maternal genetic effects for weaning weight and direct genetic effects for carcass traits were found for hot carcass weight (0.61), retail product percentage (−0.33), fat percentage (0.33), ribeye area (0.29), marbling score (0.28) and adjusted fat thickness (0.25), indicating that maternal effects for weaning weight may be correlated with genotype for propensity to fatten in steers.