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A caliper for determining carcass composition in live cattle and skin on carcasses



A caliper for determining carcass composition in live cattle and skin on carcasses



Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 34(6): 825-832



A Harpenden Skinfold Caliper used to predict body density in man was modified for use in cattle. It was used to measure thickness of the anal fold, caudal fold and rectal wall in 34 live steers or their skin-on carcasses (hot dressed wt 139-339 kg). The value of these measurements in determining carcass fat and carcass muscle was compared with that of 10th and 12th rib fat thickness measurements made in the carcass. Hot carcass weight was the best predictor of side fat weight and side muscle weight. Side fat percentage and side muscle percentage were most accurately predicted by 12th rib and 10th rib fat thickness, followed by live then single-shackle anal fold fat thickness. The 3 caudal fold measurements and rectal wall thickness were poor predictors. Addition of hot carcass weight to all linear measurements markedly improved the prediction of side fat weight and side muscle weight, but not side fat percentage and, only marginally, side muscle percentage. Single-shackle anal fold fat thickness, slightly less accurate than the live measurement, was the most useful skin-on measurement. The spring-operated caliper described can be used to determine carcass fatness and carcass lean in live steers with an accuracy closely approaching that of 12th rib fat thickness in the carcass.

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Accession: 004549098

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