Department of Agriculture
Master of Science
In recent years, body condition scores (BCS) have been included in Expected Progeny differences (EPD) calculations for maintenance energy. This experiment was designed to identify the acuteness at which technicians of different skill levels can correctly quantify BCS in beef cattle. Thirteen students enrolled in agriculture at Western Kentucky University were assigned to three experimental technician groups based on training level. Five members of the colligate livestock judging team with extensive cattle backgrounds were BCS trained and assigned to the experienced level, four students were BCS trained by the WKU livestock judging coach and assigned to the trained level, and four students with no training were assigned to the untrained group. All students were given a seminar covering body condition scoring and provided a supplemental handout on body condition scoring to use as cows were evaluated. One hundred forty-four beef cows were allotted into two experimental groups based upon breed. One group consisted of 49 Simmental cows; the other group consisted of 95 Angus cows. Coefficients of Correlation for the "equal number in all BCS" analysis were 0.62, 0.54, 0.53, and 0.93 for experienced, trained, untrained, and the official groups; respectively. Coefficients of Determination for the "equal number in all BCS" analysis were 39%, 39%, 28%, and 86% for the experienced, trained, untrained, and the official groups; respectively. The average Standard Error of Difference for the "equal numbers in all BCS" analysis were 0.451, 0.459, 0.518, and 0.301 for the experienced, trained, untrained, and the official groups, respectively. The average standard Error of Prediction from the official score for the "equal numbers in all BCS" analysis were 0.583, 0.612, and 0.618 for the experienced, trained, and untrained groups, respectively. Level of experience was significantly different (P<0.0001) between experienced and untrained technicians as well as trained and untrained technicians. There was no significant (P>0.50) difference between experienced and trained. Results from this trial indicate a need for extensive training to obtain accurate and reliable body condition scores on beef cattle.
Agriculture | Animal Sciences
Burmeister, Pete, "Effects of Training and Experience on Repeatable and Reliable Assessment of Beef Cattle Body Condition Scores" (2006). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 444.