Carcase Traits (EBVs) 


Phase 1


There are currently no EBVs for carcase traits which would allow selection decisions to be based on carcase quality as well as production traits. However, there is plenty of data collected that could be used to develop EBVs for this purpose.


In this feasibility study, data from existing industry and government databases was used to produce a dataset of abattoir collected carcass traits for beef and dairy breeds. The information was used to see whether the data are suitable to enable improved EBVs for carcass traits to be produced. The reporting of the data provided phenotypic trends and statistics useful in generating further ideas for analysis and for knowledge exchange with the industry. The raw phenotypic averages of performance data such as age at slaughter for a given weight class provided estimates of environmental impact per kg meat. 

Expected benefits

The project aimed to see whether the information available from abattoirs, BCMS and government (e.g. DARDNI) databases is suitable for manipulating and analysing to create EBVs based on carcase information.

  • The project ran from 1st November 2011 to 31st April 2012
  • It was carried out by SAC
  • The work was funded by HCC, EBLEX and DairyCo


To view the summary report on this project, click here

To view a short report on Selection Opportunities from using Abattoir Carcass Data, click here



Phase 2

Using abattoir generated data and BCMS records for carcase trait evaluations 


A previous feasibility study has demonstrated that abattoir data, when salvaged and combined with other national databases, are suitable for producing national beef genetic evaluations. This proposal is a follow on from that feasibility study and is focused on producing genetic parameters and genetic evaluations for carcass weight, conformation and fat class for those breeds represented with sufficient data in the dataset.


The aim of this project, following the feasibility project, is to gather more abattoir data from a wider range of abattoirs and make the data retrieval process automatic for each abattoir. The subsequent use of these data in this project is to produce genetic evaluations for carcass traits. Results will be disseminated to users by loading into the BASCO database.

The specific objectives are;-
1. Estimate genetic parameters, develop models and estimate breeding values for carcass traits (fat, weight and conformation).
2. Calculate correlations between these new EBVs and other important traits and then calculate index weights to allow the new EBVs to be incorporated into existing overall indexes.


·       The project is being undertaken by SRUC and will finish in May 2015

·       The project is funded by HCC and AHDB


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