Evaluation of feed efficiency traits for genetic improvement in Japanese black cattle

Masayuki Takeda, Yoshinobu Uemoto, Keiichi Inoue, Atsushi Ogino, Takayoshi Nozaki, Kazuhito Kurogi, Takanori Yasumori, Masahiro Satoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


We evaluated the genetic relationships (1) among feed efficiency traits with different fattening periods, (2) between feed efficiency traits and growth traits, and (3) between feed efficiency traits and carcass traits, to determine the influence of genetic factors on feed efficiency traits. In total, 4,578 Japanese Black cattle from a progeny testing program were used. Residual feed intake (RFI), residual BW gain (RG), and residual intake and BW gain (RIG) were defined as feed efficiency traits, and were measured for the first half (approximately 9 to 15 months of age), latter half (approximately 15 to 21 months of age), and total period of fattening (approximately 9 to 21 months of age). A single-trait animal model for estimating heritability and a two-trait animal model for estimating genetic and phenotypic correlations were used. The heritability estimates for RFI, RG, and RIG were different in each fattening period, ranging from 0.36 to 0.46, 0.19 to 0.28, and 0.28 to 0.34, respectively, and the heritability estimates for the total fattening period were greater than those for the first and latter halves separately. RIG showed the greatest preferred genetic correlation, with a greater feed conversion ratio than the other feed efficiency traits (ranging from −0.84 to −0.96). RG in the first and latter halves of the fattening period had different genetic correlations with the growth starting point (0.82 and −0.06, respectively) and maturity rate (0.49 and −0.51, respectively) of the Gompertz growth curve parameters, and is strongly dependent on the different fattening periods. Feed efficiency traits in different fattening periods had low genetic correlations with the carcass traits (from −0.05 to 0.19 for RFI; from 0.02 to 0.31 for RG; and from −0.11 to 0.20 for RIG). This study indicated the possibility for genetic improvement through the selection of high-RIG animals to decrease feed intake and increase BW gain without any unfavorable correlated responses affecting mature (asymptotic) weight and carcass grade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-805
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 3


  • Feed efficiency traits
  • Genetic parameters
  • Growth curve
  • Japanese Black cattle
  • Residual intake and BW gain


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