Introduction: This article presents the analysis of the correlation between the category and health status of calves and the results of their rearing and levels of selected blood parameters.
Material and Methods: The study included 105 Polish Holstein-Friesian and beef (Limousine, Charolaise and Hereford) crossbred calves. Young bulls were purchased at the age of two to four weeks. The animals underwent quarantine, were dehorned, and 46 young bulls were castrated. The germ horns were removed by burning out. Castration was carried out with a bloodless method using a rubber band. The calves were kept in groups and fed a milk replacer administered via teats from automated milk-feeding stations. After the period of milk feeding, the calves were fed grass silage ad libitum and a concentrate at 2.5 kg/animal/day. The calves were weighed every two weeks. Blood for analyses was sampled at 43 d of age.
Results: After the rearing period finished at the age of six months, young bulls and steers had similar body weights (176.17 and 176.55 kg) and approximate average daily weight gains from birth (0.756 and 0.767 g/day). The healthy calves at six months of age weighed 180.47 kg, whereas the animals which at least once suffered from some diseases during rearing were lighter by approx. 30 kg (P ≤ 0.01). A statistically significant (P ≤ 0.01) difference was found for the count of red blood cells and white blood cells. In comparison with healthy individuals, the diseased animals had less RBC (8.33 and 9.42 1012/L respectively) and more WBC (27.03 and 12.26 109/L respectively).
Conclusion: Castration of young bulls did not have any impact on the results of rearing and health status of the calves. The magnitude of the analysed parameters depended on the health status of the calves. Thus RBC and WBC parameters may be used to predict the health status of calves during rearing.
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of genotype and carcass conformation class on the slaughter quality of 200 young bulls, including 108 crossbred beef bulls and 92 Holstein- Friesians (HF), aged 21-22 months, selected in the lairage. The lean meat content was estimated and body measurements were taken before slaughter. After slaughter, the carcasses were graded according to the EUROP system, and carcass quality parameters were determined. Intramuscular fat was extracted from samples of m. longissimus dorsi, and the fatty acid profile of extracted fat was determined by gas chromatography. 61.11% carcasses of crossbred beef bulls were graded in the conformation class R, and 56.53% carcasses of Holstein-Friesians were classified as O. The majority of carcasses belonged to fat class 2, which was not consistent with intramuscular fat content. Within the same conformation classes, crossbred beef bulls were characterized by higher slaughter quality than Holstein-Friesian bulls. Meat from hybrid beef bulls had a higher (by 0.42% on average) content of fat with a more desirable composition. Since the population size of beef cattle will probably not increase in the nearest future, efforts should be continued to optimize the production of high-quality beef from dairy cattle herds.
The aim of this study was to determine the suitability of ultrasound and zoometric measurements and visual muscle scoring for predicting the carcass value of 167 young Holstein-Friesian (HF) bulls. Zoometric and ultrasound measurements were performed and live muscle scoring was estimated before slaughter. After slaughter, hot carcass weight (HCW) was determined and carcasses were assigned to conformation and fat classes according to the EUROP system. Multiple regression equations were derived to estimate the weight, conformation and fatness of carcasses. HCW was estimated using the following equations: Ŷ = 1.507x1 + 1.103x2 + 4.043x3 + 5.53x4 + 0.379x5 + + 8.076x6 - 678.93 (R2=0.892; Sy = 16.28) and Ŷ = 2.525x4 + 0.579x7 + 0.451x8 - 134.17 (R2=0.943; Sy = 11.84); independent variables x1 - height at sacrum (cm); x2 - chest girth (cm); x3 - pelvic width (cm); x4 - pelvic length (cm); x5 - thickness of M. gluteo-biceps (mm); x6 - intravital muscle scoring (points); x7 - thickness of M. longissimus dorsi (mm); x8 - live weight (kg). Validation of the first regression equation revealed overestimation of HCW by 1.25% on average, while validation of the second equation revealed its underestimation by 1.85% on average. It was found that intravital muscle scoring and selected ultrasound and zoometric measurements of HF bulls can be used in formulating regression equations for predicting the carcass value of live animals. The proposed models enable predicting the carcass value of young bulls with satisfactory accuracy, thus contributing to an objective live beef cattle assessment