Seasonal and annual variations in body weight and carcass characteristics of cattle in the Sudan savanna zone of Nigeria
Records kept by the Bauchi Meat Company, on 2,264 cattle slaughtered for meat, from 1982 to 1984, were analysed to study the influence of season and year on the weight of the body, carcass, bones, wholesale and retail cuts, and dressing percentage. Both season and year showed significant (P< 0.01) influence on traits measured. Body weight was lowest during the rains (345.39±3.00kg) increasing steadily thereafter to attain its highest peak (397.87±3.30kg) in the hot-dry season. Body weights were similar in 1982 (370.85±3.91kg) and 1984 (365.24±2.39kg) but superior (P < 0.01) to that of 1983 (357.63±2.61kg). Warm carcass weight was highest in the hot-dry season (217.11 ±2.05kg) and lowest in the cold-dry season (181.64±1.96kg). The annual values were similar for 1982 and 1984 but superior (P<0.01) to that of 1983 (183.80±1.43kg). The wholesale and retail cuts were heaviest in the hot-dry season. The dressing percentage was highest in the rainy season (56.13±0.12%) and lowest (49.81±0.21%) in the cold-dry season (P< 0.01). On annual basis, carcasses dressed best in 1984 (55.26±0.07%) and least (53.17±0.1.2%) in 1982. Studies such as this conducted through many season, years and even decades are valuable in functional planning.
Keywords: Season, bodyweight, retail cuts, dressing %, carcass, beef.