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A thought for a few thinkers

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Anonymous

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Perhaps some form of double muscling in a teminal sire will be the optimal carcass animal aftwer all...

Marbling in double muscled steers Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein Agriculture Canada June, 2003

Some breeds of cattle are prone to double muscling. These animals have enlarged muscles, giving them the appearance of being the weight lifters of the cattle world!

Double muscling in cattle is the result of a natural mutation of the myostatin gene. Normally this gene stops muscle development, but the timing is off because of the mutation of the gene.

There are a number of breeds that are prone to carrying the gene for double muscling, with two of these being the Piedmontese and the Parthenais. Both breeds have been in existence for a long time with the first official herdbook for the Piedmontese established in Italy in 1897, and for the Parthenais in France in 1893. Both breeds are raised in Alberta.

One of the attractions of double-muscled cattle is the leanness of their carcasses. Backfat is generally found to be less in double-muscled cattle than in cattle with normal muscling. Whether or not this affects the amount of marbling fat in the muscle is open to dispute.

Some studies have found reduced marbling in double-muscled cattle while others have found no effect of double muscling on carcass marbling.

As part of a large study to determine growth performance and carcass characteristics of cattle with varying degrees of marbling genetics, we included Piedmontese and Parthenais steers. The objectives of this portion of the study were to compare backfat depths and marbling of double-muscled and non double-muscled steers, and to determine if double-muscled steers have altered plasma hormone profiles that might explain how the gene for extra muscle growth is being expressed.

We compared the data from 10 Piedmontese and 8 Parthenais double-muscled steers with data obtained from 38 non double-muscled (control) steers). The control group had 19 Angus, 10 Hereford, 3 Holstein, 3 Hereford x Charolais and 3 Hereford x Simmental calves in it.

Calves began the trial at weaning. During the first 2 weeks we put the calves on a roughage diet. We then adapted the calves over a 4-week period to a diet of 80% barley, 15% barley silage and 5% pelleted supplement, which they received until slaughter.

We weighed calves at weaning and every 28 day until slaughter. We also measured ultrasonic backfat depth when we weighed them. We assigned the control group for slaughter when their backfat depths approached 12 mm.

However, we assigned the double-muscled steers for slaughter at 500 kg liveweight, instead of at 12 mm of backfat, since they were slow to deposit backfat. We had the calves slaughtered at the Lacombe Research Centre, where blue tag data was collected by certified AAFC beef graders.

Carcass marbling was scored on an inverse 10-point scale where a score of '1' is maximum marbling and a score of '10' is zero marbling. Average live weight at slaughter was slightly higher in double-muscled steers compared to control steers (506 vs. 488 kg). As we expected, double-muscled steers had much less backfat than control steers (5.1 vs. 12.1 mm) at slaughter.

Despite this, carcass marbling was similar for both the double-muscled and control steers (8.6 vs. 8.6 marbling score), supporting the view that while double muscling results in less external carcass fat, it does not adversely affect marbling. This is important since marbling is believed to have a role in determining the palatability of beef.

We collected blood samples from the steers three times during this study for the measurement of several hormones known to be involved in the partitioning of energy into either muscle or fat. Plasma insulin concentrations were similar in the double- muscled and control steers (1.2 vs. 1.3 ng/mL).

The concentration of plasma triiodothyronine, a thyroid hormone, was slightly lower in double-muscled compared to control steers (1.9 vs. 2.1 ng/mL). Plasma thyroxine, another thyroid hormone, was also lower in double-muscled compared to control steers (7.3 vs. 9.3 µg/dL). We also found that plasma cortisol, an adrenal hormone was substantially higher in the double-muscled steers (12.3 vs.6.9 µg/dL).

Our study indicates that Piedmontese and Parthenais steers put on much less backfat without reducing the amount of muscle marbling. These breeds have adrenal and thyroid hormone concentrations that are different from those of normally muscled cattle, an indication that the mutated myostatin gene may be expressing itself through these hormonal systems to alter muscular development and fat deposition in these cattle.



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A

Anonymous

Guest
Are there BLACK Piedmontese or Parthenaise? If not they will never make it on this board and probably not in the standard part of the business. Remember that "thinkers" are hard to come by. This is a "follow the herd" industry. Having groveled to my Angus friends, I will say that beef is muscle, muscle is beef, not fat. The supermarkets made millions for years selling extra fat, many don't wish to see that end. Economically, if you can sell 5 cents a pound fat for $1.85 you may have a cash generating machine, why would you want to change it? I am not sure you can make as much turning water into gold as you can turning fat into bucks.

Opps, sorry Dun, not being as politically correct as I should be but remember fat is marbling, marbling is fat, just calling a spade a spade, not sure that is either whining or negative. Please correct me if I am wrong.
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
John,

The whole point of the post is that research is finding out that double muscled cattle marble as well as normal cattle, they just di not put on the intermuscular fat. Since well marbled beef with a minimium of waste fat is the stated goal of the quality programs in the beef industry this is the most probable way to acomplish this goal. Also fat does not cost 5 cents a pound to put on. In fact due to the energy in fat and lower water content fat is 7 times more expensive per pound of gain. This makes a lean steer/heifer with a high quality carcass the economic victor. Ad for them not being black no one at the consumimg end cares. They do care about buying too much fat due to health and economic reasons (waste). Soon the cow calf man is going to be paid on his ability to produce the maximium pounds of high quality beef on the rail from a given number of cows at the lowest cost. This will require a cross bred dam and a heavily muscled terminal sire with double muscled characteristics if this research is correct. This means this optimal steer will be at most a quarter angus. To suppose otherwise is to live in denial of the facts. Something else to keep in mind: The vast majority of purebred operations, even the big ones are small businesses relative to others in other parts of the economy. For example a Starbucks in a humble location will do more volume (10 million) and make more profits than the biggest angus breeders. Just think how much bigger a 50,000 feed lot is compared to any purebred breeder in any breed in dollar terms. In short if a different system can produce beef cheaper we must ask ourselves honestly: "How can I use this information to stay relevant and make a better living?"

Mark

> Are there BLACK Piedmontese or
> Parthenaise? If not they will
> never make it on this board and
> probably not in the standard part
> of the business. Remember that
> "thinkers" are hard to
> come by. This is a "follow
> the herd" industry. Having
> groveled to my Angus friends, I
> will say that beef is muscle,
> muscle is beef, not fat. The
> supermarkets made millions for
> years selling extra fat, many
> don't wish to see that end.
> Economically, if you can sell 5
> cents a pound fat for $1.85 you
> may have a cash generating
> machine, why would you want to
> change it? I am not sure you can
> make as much turning water into
> gold as you can turning fat into
> bucks.

> Opps, sorry Dun, not being as
> politically correct as I should be
> but remember fat is marbling,
> marbling is fat, just calling a
> spade a spade, not sure that is
> either whining or negative. Please
> correct me if I am wrong.



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Anonymous

Guest
"Ad for them not being black no one at the consumimg end cares."

As I always say, consumers only care about one color, "red ", as in red meat.

Really do like your thinking and believe you are right, only one problem, black and fat are too ingrained to have much happen too fast. The Angus guys will fight any "progress" toward what consumers want, so it will take a while.
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
Well, I wouldn't call 18 steers a "large study." You're free to disagree with that, of course.

Everything I've ever read tells me double muscled breeds are less fertile and have more calving difficulty than "normal" breeds. Fertility and calving ease should not be overlooked if a producer actually expects to be profitable. Right or wrong, the packers and the commercial cattle business don't reward double muscled cattle, at least not here in the US. Here's a link to Leachman's Montana Range branded beef site. I think Leachman was the largest beef seedstock producer in the US, possibly the world. They are dispersing this year, in part because of the expense and problems starting up a branded beef program based on the myostatin gene. Good luck....
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
The Angus guys already give the consumer what it wants. Go to any high end restraunt and they brag on their menus about their certified Angus beef.JUst Don't think that's gonna happen with Piedmontese beef. That is the stupidist comment i've heard on here and there have been many.
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
sorry about that.... <A HREF="http://www.leachman.com/html/montana.htm" TARGET="_blank">http://www.leachman.com/html/montana.htm</A>

> Well, I wouldn't call 18 steers a
> "large study." You're
> free to disagree with that, of
> course.

> Everything I've ever read tells me
> double muscled breeds are less
> fertile and have more calving
> difficulty than "normal"
> breeds. Fertility and calving ease
> should not be overlooked if a
> producer actually expects to be
> profitable. Right or wrong, the
> packers and the commercial cattle
> business don't reward double
> muscled cattle, at least not here
> in the US. Here's a link to
> Leachman's Montana Range branded
> beef site. I think Leachman was
> the largest beef seedstock
> producer in the US, possibly the
> world. They are dispersing this
> year, in part because of the
> expense and problems starting up a
> branded beef program based on the
> myostatin gene. Good luck....
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
funny how most of those stupid comments come from you...angus isn't everything
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
Frakie,

Double muscled cattle not only are harder calving and harder breeding but they do not grow well past an early age. This is true for all the european double muscled breeds. To be sucessful in a feedlot environement growth rate or lean oprimal cuts per day of age to 1200 LB is an important thing to keep in mind. Before double muscled cattle are accepted in North America they must be selected to work in our environment and management conditions. That means easier calving and better growth with a moderate expression of the double muscled trait. The Pieds that Leachman used were primarily designed to breed to Holstein cows to produce vealers in northern Italy. Growth rate past a few months of age is not considered with carcass lean meat yield only considered at older ages. The poor growth rate overshadowed the excellent carcass traits. Given the fact Leachman had no experience selecting terminal sires or feeding cattle high yeild cattle, a learning curve characterized by financial losses was inevitable. None of the composites or breeds that Leachman raised were terminal in nature so the problems with using pied bulls was vastly under esitmated. As you point out super high yeilding cattle are not rewarded in The U. S. grading system. This meant that Leachman had to have a market that would reward this type of carcass with a premium. He never found one due to his lack of knowledge of grocery retail in the effluent costal cities or high end culinary supply. A market would exist for this premium product in say Seattle or the Bay Area but he never understood this or even where to start looking. The study I quoted is small. It however is not the only such study it was merely the closest one at hand. It is not the reality now but given the economic problems the beef industry is in perhaps we should start thinking out side conventional wisdom since quick fixes have not solved the beef industries problems with declining consumption.

Mark

> Well, I wouldn't call 18 steers a
> "large study." You're
> free to disagree with that, of
> course.

> Everything I've ever read tells me
> double muscled breeds are less
> fertile and have more calving
> difficulty than "normal"
> breeds. Fertility and calving ease
> should not be overlooked if a
> producer actually expects to be
> profitable. Right or wrong, the
> packers and the commercial cattle
> business don't reward double
> muscled cattle, at least not here
> in the US. Here's a link to
> Leachman's Montana Range branded
> beef site. I think Leachman was
> the largest beef seedstock
> producer in the US, possibly the
> world. They are dispersing this
> year, in part because of the
> expense and problems starting up a
> branded beef program based on the
> myostatin gene. Good luck....



[email protected]
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
A market exists for highly finished beef in steak houses and some retail stores. This is a very small part of the market however. Also once you take to steaks what are you going to do with the parts of the carcass that does not maker steaks? The fat is disposed of as trim. Since this fat is expensive to put down, particularly just to trim off, your chuck roast and round steak will be at a competitive disadvantage compared to a leaner more efficient carcass. Think of the big picture just not the few tens of pounds of high end steaks on a carcass. I am not promoting Piedmontese. I think their application is very limited due to the lack of relevant selection for our management cconditions. However if an animal can be found with double muscled traits that is selected for our needs then it may have a competitive advantage. Finally would it make it OK if you knew that the Angus breed has double muscled animals as well?

Mark

The Angus guys already give the
> consumer what it wants. Go to any
> high end restraunt and they brag
> on their menus about their
> certified Angus beef.JUst Don't
> think that's gonna happen with
> Piedmontese beef. That is the
> stupidist comment i've heard on
> here and there have been many.



[email protected]
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
The American Angus Association consideres double muscling a fault: "CLASS I DEFECTS - Class I defects include dwarfism, osteopetrosis (marble bone disease), double muscling and syndactyly (mule foot). These defects are lethal or seriously disabling, or they seriously affect reproductive performance."

> A market exists for highly
> finished beef in steak houses and
> some retail stores. This is a very
> small part of the market however.
> Also once you take to steaks what
> are you going to do with the parts
> of the carcass that does not maker
> steaks? The fat is disposed of as
> trim. Since this fat is expensive
> to put down, particularly just to
> trim off, your chuck roast and
> round steak will be at a
> competitive disadvantage compared
> to a leaner more efficient
> carcass. Think of the big picture
> just not the few tens of pounds of
> high end steaks on a carcass. I am
> not promoting Piedmontese. I think
> their application is very limited
> due to the lack of relevant
> selection for our management
> cconditions. However if an animal
> can be found with double muscled
> traits that is selected for our
> needs then it may have a
> competitive advantage. Finally
> would it make it OK if you knew
> that the Angus breed has double
> muscled animals as well?

> Mark

> The Angus guys already give the
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
Frankie,

Whether or not the Angus association considers double muscling a fault the reality is that the Angus breed has carriers of this gene and culling out these animals from the herd book will not eradicate this gene from the breed. Perhaps a genetic test could be developed to find and cull the carriers; but many fine animals would be removed from the herd book and I doubt the angus breed would be willing to pay the price if many high performing bulls and cows were culled as a result. Right now a double muscled Angus bull is being promoted in Scotland with North American bloodlines. Should the angus breed have a 1950's style witch hunt to root out all possible carriers?

Mark

> The American Angus Association
> consideres double muscling a
> fault: "CLASS I DEFECTS -
> Class I defects include dwarfism,
> osteopetrosis (marble bone
> disease), double muscling and
> syndactyly (mule foot). These
> defects are lethal or seriously
> disabling, or they seriously
> affect reproductive
> performance."



[email protected]
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
The association will make a note on the registration of every bull or cow known to carry the double muscling gene. I won't buy or use any animal that I know to carry that gene, nor will many other Angus breeders. If the gene is not removed from the Angus breed, it will at least become more recessive. Double muscling is not like the Red color; double muscling affects fertility and other ECONOMICALLY important traits. And that's what the Angus breed here in the US is built on.

> Frankie,

> Whether or not the Angus
> association considers double
> muscling a fault the reality is
> that the Angus breed has carriers
> of this gene and culling out these
> animals from the herd book will
> not eradicate this gene from the
> breed. Perhaps a genetic test
> could be developed to find and
> cull the carriers; but many fine
> animals would be removed from the
> herd book and I doubt the angus
> breed would be willing to pay the
> price if many high performing
> bulls and cows were culled as a
> result. Right now a double muscled
> Angus bull is being promoted in
> Scotland with North American
> bloodlines. Should the angus breed
> have a 1950's style witch hunt to
> root out all possible carriers?

> Mark
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
"It is not the reality now but given the economic problems the beef industry is in perhaps we should start thinking out side conventional wisdom since quick fixes have not solved the beef industries problems with declining consumption."

Every business has economic problems, not just the beef industry. People buy and sell cows every day; get in and out of the cattle business every day. Always have and always will. We've had at least three years of real growth in the demand for beef. I can't see any reason for that to stop. Producers are contracting their calf crops at the highest prices in years. I don't think we're in dire straits. Things look pretty good as we start to rebuild our cow herd.

I don't think profitability lies in another breed/type beef animal. I believe profitability will come to those producers who are willing to use good genetics and managent, learn to market their cattle where those genetics are rewarded and cooperate with others in the supply chain.

I guess I'm missing your point???

> Frakie,

> Double muscled cattle not only are
> harder calving and harder breeding
> but they do not grow well past an
> early age. This is true for all
> the european double muscled
> breeds. To be sucessful in a
> feedlot environement growth rate
> or lean oprimal cuts per day of
> age to 1200 LB is an important
> thing to keep in mind. Before
> double muscled cattle are accepted
> in North America they must be
> selected to work in our
> environment and management
> conditions. That means easier
> calving and better growth with a
> moderate expression of the double
> muscled trait. The Pieds that
> Leachman used were primarily
> designed to breed to Holstein cows
> to produce vealers in northern
> Italy. Growth rate past a few
> months of age is not considered
> with carcass lean meat yield only
> considered at older ages. The poor
> growth rate overshadowed the
> excellent carcass traits. Given
> the fact Leachman had no
> experience selecting terminal
> sires or feeding cattle high yeild
> cattle, a learning curve
> characterized by financial losses
> was inevitable. None of the
> composites or breeds that Leachman
> raised were terminal in nature so
> the problems with using pied bulls
> was vastly under esitmated. As you
> point out super high yeilding
> cattle are not rewarded in The U.
> S. grading system. This meant that
> Leachman had to have a market that
> would reward this type of carcass
> with a premium. He never found one
> due to his lack of knowledge of
> grocery retail in the effluent
> costal cities or high end culinary
> supply. A market would exist for
> this premium product in say
> Seattle or the Bay Area but he
> never understood this or even
> where to start looking. The study
> I quoted is small. It however is
> not the only such study it was
> merely the closest one at hand. It
> is not the reality now but given
> the economic problems the beef
> industry is in perhaps we should
> start thinking out side
> conventional wisdom since quick
> fixes have not solved the beef
> industries problems with declining
> consumption.

> Mark
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
> Question, is the Romagnola
> considered to be double muscled?

No.
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
Frankie,

I am not talking about where we are at in the cattle cyle at the moment. I am talking about long term problems with demand and competitivness with other forms of animal protein. Eventually technological efficiency is reflected in the profitabity of an industry. The more efficient, the bigger the pie is to cut amoung the participants in an industry and eventually the communities that are dependent on the cattle industry. Over the past couple decades the cattle businees has slipped in the competition for resources in the national economy. This reflected in your own states (South Dakota) per capita income; it rates either 49th or 50th depending on whom you want to believe. A more effiecent animal that can stem the long term erosion in beef demand is one small way to attack this problem. Complacency on these issues is no solution.

Mark
> "It is not the reality now
> but given the economic problems
> the beef industry is in perhaps we
> should start thinking out side
> conventional wisdom since quick
> fixes have not solved the beef
> industries problems with declining
> consumption."

> Every business has economic
> problems, not just the beef
> industry. People buy and sell cows
> every day; get in and out of the
> cattle business every day. Always
> have and always will. We've had at
> least three years of real growth
> in the demand for beef. I can't
> see any reason for that to stop.
> Producers are contracting their
> calf crops at the highest prices
> in years. I don't think we're in
> dire straits. Things look pretty
> good as we start to rebuild our
> cow herd.

> I don't think profitability lies
> in another breed/type beef animal.
> I believe profitability will come
> to those producers who are willing
> to use good genetics and managent,
> learn to market their cattle where
> those genetics are rewarded and
> cooperate with others in the
> supply chain.

> I guess I'm missing your point???



[email protected]
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
So what's your plan, Mark?

> Frankie,

> I am not talking about where we
> are at in the cattle cyle at the
> moment. I am talking about long
> term problems with demand and
> competitivness with other forms of
> animal protein. Eventually
> technological efficiency is
> reflected in the profitabity of an
> industry. The more efficient, the
> bigger the pie is to cut amoung
> the participants in an industry
> and eventually the communities
> that are dependent on the cattle
> industry. Over the past couple
> decades the cattle businees has
> slipped in the competition for
> resources in the national economy.
> This reflected in your own states
> (South Dakota) per capita income;
> it rates either 49th or 50th
> depending on whom you want to
> believe. A more effiecent animal
> that can stem the long term
> erosion in beef demand is one
> small way to attack this problem.
> Complacency on these issues is no
> solution.

> Mark
 
OP
A

Anonymous

Guest
> I don't think profitability lies
> in another breed/type beef animal.
> I believe profitability will come
> to those producers who are willing
> to use good genetics and managent,
> learn to market their cattle where
> those genetics are rewarded and
> cooperate with others in the
> supply chain.

After watching the cattle industry for a while now from the sidelines, you statement concerning selection and targeted marketing makes a lot of sense. More farmers are moving away from the 'quantity' production methods and are focusing on quality (of the individual carcass).

unfortunately, in some areas, leaders in the subject are not quite convinced of the 'pay per carcass' format, and press local farmers to produce vast numbers, discouraging the practice of purchasing fewer animals wiht better (more expensive) genetics.

I recently made a proposal concerning a herd of cattle with known genetic strength being utilized on a smaller farm, with extensive tracking form birth to plate and target marketed to the buyers of choice and prime carcasses.......it seems that such a practice is unheard of here. I have been strongly advised against such production practices.

It seems to me that selecting bloodstock carefully, with a specific carcass quality and market in mind, is a reasonable practice......a practice made even easier now with GeneStar testing and other methods of determining genetic potential to produce high grading carcasses. Unfortunately, it's going to take a while for some areas (and some extension service personell) to catch up with this thinking.

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Anonymous

Guest
Keep up the independent thinking, that is where true improvements come from. Think end customers first and then work your way back to the traits needed and environment, the last decision is breed. Decide on the package of traits needed to accomplish your objects, most likely a combination of breeds unless your objective is to produce a certain type of purebred seedstock.

Some cautions:

1. Do not put much stock in what any extension agent tells you. They may do a good job as general information providers, but most are not beef production specialists. Even the few that are, are overly influenced by breed politics. Just that way things are in a public position like that.

2. Do not confuse the true value of genetics with what they cost you. Expensive does not equate to production value. Here again, you must decide upon what package of specific traits you require and then seek out the "right" genetic packages. In most cases (other than the mindless pursuit of showring winners) the genetics that have the most value to you, will be lower priced than the average.

3. Do not pay for someone else's ego trip or hype, glitz and glamour. Do your homework and decide on your objectives first, then seek out a genetic supplier.
 

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