Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



Emenheiser, Greiner, Lewis & Notter in Journal of Animal Science (2010) 88. doi:10.2527/jas.2009-2378


Copyright 2010, American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Four equations were used to compare alternative procedures to adjust ultrasonic estimates (y) of backfat thickness (BF) and LM area (LMA) for BW using data from a series of 7 scans on 24 Suffolk ram lambs born in 2007. Equations were linear, linear + quadratic, allometric (y = αBWβ), and allometric + BW (ABW; y = αBWβeγW). Goodness of fit was very similar between equations over the range of the data. Resulting adjustment equations were tested using 3 serial scans on winter-born Suffolk (n = 150), Hampshire (n = 36), and Dorset (n = 43) rams and 52 fall-born Dorset rams tested at the Virginia Ram Test in 1999 through 2002. Partial correlations (accounting for the effect of year) between predicted and actual measures ranged from 0.78 to 0.87 for BF and 0.66 to 0.93 for LMA in winter-born rams and from 0.70 to 0.71 for BF and 0.72 to 0.78 for LMA in fall-born rams. No significant differences in predictive ability existed between equations for BF or LMA (P > 0.05), and there was no indication that the allometric equation was a better predictor than linear within the range of the data. Adjustment equations were also tested using serial scan data from 37 Suffolk ewe lambs born in the same contemporary group as the rams used to derive the prediction equations but fed for a substantially slower rate of BW gain. Correlations between predicted and actual values of BF and LMA indicated lambs were too young and small at the first scan (77 d, 32.4 kg) to reliably predict carcass measures at typical slaughter weights. For prediction using data from the 2 subsequent scans, at mean ages >96 d and mean BW >39 kg, correlations between predicted and actual values were 0.72 to 0.74 for BF and 0.54 to 0.76 for LMA. Little difference existed between equations for predicting BF. For LMA, the ABW form was a weaker predictor than the others, and the linear equation was slightly superior to allometric. Therefore, it appears the linear and allometric forms are both suitable for use in central ram test and performance-tested farm flocks.