Carcass characteristics of Nordic native cattle breeds

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Margrethe Therkildsen
Mogens Vestergaard
Morten Kargo
Liisa keto
Per Ertbjerg
Gudjon Thorkelsson
Maria Gudjónsdóttir
Maria Kjetså
Mervi Honkatukia
Bjørg Egelandsdal
Nina Svartedal
Morten Røe
Freddy Fikse
Anders Karlsson
Anna Hessle


Native livestock breeds are part of the history of the Nordic people and comprise a resource for future food production. In this study, net gain and carcass characteristics of two Danish, three Finnish, one Icelandic, six Norwegian and five Swedish native cattle breeds were retrieved and compared to commercial breeds: two beef breeds and two dairy breeds. Breed data were collected from national databases and sorted into six animal categories: young bull, bull, steer, heifer, young cow and cow, for which means and standard deviations were calculated within each country. The native breeds ranged from small-sized milking type breeds with low net gain, carcass weights and EUROP classification to larger multipurpose breeds with high net gains, carcass weights and EUROP classification.
All Finnish and most of the Norwegian and Swedish native breeds had lower net gain and carcass weight than the dairy breeds in the same category and country, but with similar carcass conformation and fatness scores. The two Danish native breeds had higher net gain, carcass weight and conformation class than the reference dairy breed, but lower than the reference beef breeds. The net gain and carcass traits of the Icelandic native breed were similar to the smallest-sized native breeds from the other countries. The carcass traits of the native breeds indicate that they have comparative advantages in an extensive production system based on forage and marginal grasslands. They may also succeed better in the value-added markets than in mainstream beef production.

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How to Cite
Therkildsen, M., Vestergaard, M., Kargo, M., Keto, L., Ertbjerg, P., Thorkelsson, G., Gudjónsdóttir, M., Kjetså, M., Honkatukia, M., Egelandsdal, B., Svartedal, N., Røe, M., Fikse, F. W., Karlsson, A. H. and Hessle, A. (2023) “Carcass characteristics of Nordic native cattle breeds”, Genetic Resources, 4(7), pp. 1–19. doi: 10.46265/genresj.LWUP7415.
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