The essence of animal production is to convert nutrients supplied by a range of feedstuffs into high-quality animal products. In meat-producing animals, this conversion encompasses relationships between nutrient intake and chemical body composition, as well as those between chemical and physical body composition. In terms of physical body composition, the amount of muscle tissue and its distribution are of prime concern, as they are the main determinants of the amount and quality of consumable products that can be derived from the animal's carcass. Relationships between nutrient intake and body composition also influence the efficiency of animal production and are affected by a range of factors associated with animal type, nutrition, environment, and stage of growth. An understanding of these relationships, and of factors affecting them, is required to identify means to manipulate animal product quality and production efficiencies.
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