Muscling on Holsteins

Published 8 September 09

Project details
The aim of this project was to examine the genetic and economic challenges and opportunities for increasing the muscling and carcass quality of Holstein cattle.

The report has highlighted the need to explore appropriate ways of integrating dairy and beef production systems to the benefit of levy payers overall. Recommendations include:

  • Modelling an integrated beef/dairy system to allow comparisons of it with traditional suckler beef systems
  • Improved recording of traits and assimilation of data that can be used in reporting for farm management purposes and genetic improvement in dairy and beef herds (e.g., liveweight of all cattle, slaughter data from abattoirs)
  • In the short term producers should record at least the sire identity on their BCMS passport applications (ideally dam identity as well) to allow for more accurate beef and dairy forecasting by national agencies, better benchmarking of beef production systems by breed type and more information on beef cross dairy cattle.
  • A more detailed analysis of the appropriate weights to be applied to carcass conformation in an expanded £PLI should be undertaken once there are sufficient carcase records available in the UK that can be identified back to sire, and/or dam.

Completion Date
February 2008

Lead Contractor
Scottish Agricultural College

DairyCo and EBLEX

Related products and resources
The technical report is available to download.

EBLEX have a Better Returns Programme booklet which focuses on Better returns from pure dairy-bred male calves. Breeding+ is available by calling DairyCo publications on 024 7647 8702 or emailing

For further information please contact or call 024 7647 8878