Abstract Evaluation of temperament of calves early in life is associated with growth and meat quality in extensively farmed beef cattle. However, the relationship between temperament and performance is unclear for hand-reared beef-cross-dairy calves. This experiment analysed temperament of 1077 Angus- and Hereford-sired cattle born to dairy-breed cows and hand-reared, and evaluated the value of these measurements as predictors of growth and meat quality traits. Cattle in this study were calm, with mean exit velocity (EV) between 0.76 and 1.15 m/s from 200 d to 800 d, crush score (CS) between 1.38 and 1.79 from 200 d to slaughter (1-5 scale), and measurements were highly correlated at all ages (P<0.05). Temperament at 200 d and 400 d was not related to growth, but CS was related to growth from 600-800 d (-0.011 kg/d for a 1-point increase in CS at 600 d, P<0.05). Temperament at 800 d or before slaughter was not related to meat ultimate pH or colour score. The small variation in temperament among animals was probably the consequence of cattle being acclimatised to the presence of humans due to hand-rearing and frequent handling. Therefore, temperament is unlikely to be an issue in hand-reared beef-cross-dairy cattle and should not influence growth and meat quality traits. Keywords: Artificial rearing; beef-on-dairy; beef production; crush score; exit speed; exit velocity; flight time
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 81, Online, 57-62, 2021
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