CAFE, Linda

Linda Cafe

Research interests

Livestock temperament and behaviour – the relationships between cattle temperament and productivity, product quality, physiology and welfare. Improving the understanding and measurement of temperament. The science of livestock welfare.

Muscling in beef cattle – selection for visual muscle score in British cattle breeds. The impacts on carcase yield and quality, maternal productivity, genetic and physiological factors.


Linda joined the Department as a technical officer at Grafton Research Station in 2002. She moved to the Armidale Livestock Industries Centre in 2005, and after completing her PhD gained a research position in 2010. With a background in ruminant nutrition and rangelands research, she has a broad understanding of livestock systems. Since the retirement of Bill McKiernan she has been the Principal Researcher responsible for the research program on the nationally recognised DPI muscling selection line cattle herd.

Linda collaborates with colleagues from DPI and other research and industry organisations, including the team at Glen Innes Research Station, Grafton Primary Industries Institute, Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute and Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute to ensure that this important cattle resource is utilised and applied to solving industry issues.

Linda conducted her PhD on a number of aspects of cattle temperament, and she maintains an interest in this area of research. She is interested in further developing this research to include temperament in broader cattle welfare research.


  • B Agr Sc in Animal Production – University of Queensland 1991
  • M Agr Sc “The growth and compositional response of the hindlimb of the sheep to amino acid infusion” – University of Queensland 2003
  • PhD “Cattle Temperament and stress-responsiveness in relation to productivity efficiency and beef quality” – University of New England 2011

Current projects

DPI Muscling Selection Line Herd – Angus herd selected for divergence in muscling since 1989. The breeding herd joined the Angus Sire Benchmarking Project (ASBP) as a co-operator herd for four cohorts (2014-2018 joining). This collaboration generates valuable data on growth, feed efficiency and carcase characteristics of steer progeny from the herd, and fertility and calving performance of the heifer progeny. It also ensures maximisation of the value of genetic information being researched through strong genetic links to a broad component of the breed.

Due to the divergent body composition of the selection lines, the muscling herd also provides suitable animals and data for validation and development of the Beef Specs model, and for the development of 3D cameras for objective animal assessment.

The Retail Beef Yield Project (2017-2021) - is funded through DPI and the MDC allowing the collection of in depth carcase and yield data on ASBP progeny from the Muscling herd and the DPI Trangie research herd. This will see RBY% data collection on 1000 carcases representing modern cattle to update BREEDPLAN and study the suitability of current calculations deriving the RBY% ebv.

Livestock Welfare Benchmarking Project (2017-2022) – welfare benchmarking and management for the beef industry. This is a collaborative project led by CSIRO, and is part of the LPP Program. The purpose is to develop a welfare benchmarking and management framework for the beef industry, and includes science around measuring livestock welfare.

Recent publications

Lee C, Cafe LM, Robinson SL, Doyle RE, Lea JM, Small AH, Colditz IG (2018) Anxiety influences attention bias but not flight speed and crush score in beef cattle. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci.205:210-215.

Lees, A., Lea, J., Salvin, H., Cafe, L., Colditz, I., Lee, C. (2018) Relationship between rectal temperature and vaginal temperature in grazing Bos taurus heifers. Animals8:156.

Cafe LM, McKiernan WA, Robinson DL. (2015) Selection for increased muscling is not detrimental to maternal productivity traits in Angus cows. Anim. Prod. Sci.58:185-192.

Cafe LM, McKiernan WA, Robinson DL (2014) Selection for increased muscling improved feed efficiency and carcase characteristics of Angus steers. Anim. Prod. Sci. 54: 1412-1416.

Robinson DL, Cafe LM, McKiernan WA (2014) Heritability of muscle score and genetic and phenotypic relationships with weight, fatness and eye muscle area in beef cattle. Anim. Prod. Sci. 54: 1443-1448

Cafe LM, McKiernan WA, Robinson DL (2013) Using muscling selection line cows to inform maternal productivity modelling MLA final report for project B.SBP.0085.

Greenwood PL, Cafe LM, McIntyre BL, Geesink GH, Thompson JM, Polkinghorne R, Pethick DW, and Robinson DL (2013) Molecular value predictions: Associations with beef quality, carcass, production, behavior, and efficiency phenotypes in Brahman cattle. J. Anim. Sc. 91, 5912-5925.

Robinson DL, Cafe LM, McIntyre BL, Geesink GH, Barendse W, Pethick DW, Thompson JM, Polkinghorne R, Greenwood PL (2012) Production and processing studies on calpain-system gene markers for beef tenderness: Consumer assessments of eating quality. J. Anim.Sc. 90:2850-2860.

Cafe LM, Robinson DL, Ferguson DM, McIntyre BL, Geesink GH, and Greenwood PL (2011) Cattle temperament: persistence of assessments and associations with productivity, efficiency, carcass and meat quality traits. J Anim. Sci. 89: 1452-1465.

Cafe LM, Robinson DL, Ferguson DM, Geesink GH, and Greenwood PL (2011). Temperament and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function are related and combine to affect growth, efficiency, carcass and meat quality traits in Brahman steers. Domest. Anim. Endocrinol. 40: 230-240.

Cafe LM, McIntyre BL, Robinson DL, Geesink GH, Barendse W, and Greenwood PL (2010) Production and processing studies on calpain-system gene markers for tenderness in cattle: 1. Growth, efficiency, temperament and carcass characteristics. J. Anim. Sci. 88: 3047-3058

Cafe LM, McIntyre BM, Robinson DL, Geesink GH, Barendse W, Pethick DW, Thompson JM, and Greenwood PL (2010) Production and processing studies on calpain-system gene markers for tenderness in Brahman cattle 2. Objective meat quality. J. Anim. Sci. 88: 3059-3069.

Professional associations and activities

  • Member Australian Society of Animal Production

Fields of research

  • 070202 Animal Growth and Development
  • 070201 Animal Breeding
  • 070203 Animal Management
  • 070207 Humane Animal Treatment

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

Beef cattle, temperament, behaviour, stress physiology, livestock welfare, productivity, muscle score, retail beef yield, breeding and genetics.

Contact details

Location: Armidale (Livestock Industries Centre)