Easily excitable cattle can be dangerous to themselves and cattle-handling personnel. And according to a recent project conducted at North Dakota State University, they may also have lower quality carcasses than calmer cattle.
The study, which was conducted from August 2013 to February 2014, looked at the relationship between temperament, feeding behavior, growth performance and carcass characteristics. Steers were fed a common growing and finishing ration and feeding behavior and feedlot performance traits were measured throughout the study.
Temperament was measured by exit velocity, the time it took steers to cover the distance between the head catch and the overhead door exiting the working facilities, when steers were handled every 28-days throughout the study.
Carcass characteristics, including ribeye area, marbling, back fat, yield grade, kidney, pelvic and heart fat, hot carcass weight, dressing percentage, and liver abscess score, were collected at the processing plant.
According to the study, temperament did not have significant correlation with feeding behavior or growth performance.
With regard to carcass characteristics, the calmer steers, or those that exited the chute at a slower speed, had better hot carcass weights and marbling and tended to have better yield grades than steers that excited the chute at a faster rate of speed.