Articles | Volume 50, issue 4
10 Oct 2007
 | 10 Oct 2007

Parameters for the estimation of live weight and for the visual appraisal of the muscular conformation in the (double-muscled) Belgian Blue beef breed

F. Coopman, A. Van Zeveren, G. Verhoeven, and S. De Smet

Abstract. In the double-muscled Belgian Blue beef breed, withers height and hearth girth are routinely measured. This is mainly done to prevent a decrease in growth potential when selecting for increased muscular conformation. The muscular conformation itself is subjectively scored. It was questioned if additional body measurements may improve the accuracy of estimating live weight and whether some of these body measurements may yield information for evaluating the muscular conformation hence the slaughter value of a live animal. It was found that hearth girth and shoulder width have a high correlation with the live weight of slaughter bulls. The width of the hind quarters and withers height are good estimators as well. Models combining these different traits to estimate live weight have reliability up to 83%. Shoulder width and width of the hind quarters are a good reflection of the value of the slaughter bull, which is expressed as Euro per kg cold carcass weight. The withers height is negatively correlated (r = −0.40) with the muscular conformation of the slaughter bulls. Hearth girth has no clear relation with the muscular conformation. The four body traits, withers height, hearth girth, shoulder width and width of hind quarters are interesting traits related to economical traits in the double-muscled Belgian Blue beef breed. Using these body measurements in selection might be worthwhile to consider.