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14 July 2020 Effects of forage finishing methods with alfalfa on cattle growth performance and beef carcass characteristics, eating quality, and nutrient composition
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Abstract

Over 2 yr, yearling steers (n = 200) were used to evaluate growth performance, carcass, meat quality, and nutrient composition traits as affected by management regimen comparing three methods of forage finishing (alfalfa pasture, hay, and silage) versus a high corn diet. Management regimen × year interactions (P < 0.01) for average daily gain, dry matter intake, gain-to-feed, carcass weight, and grade fat were due to lower performance for hay-fed cattle in years 1 vs. 2. Carcass, meat quality, and taste panel traits were generally similar (P > 0.10) across method of forage finishing. Trained taste panels found longissimus muscle from grain-fed beef to be more (P < 0.01) tender, juicy, and flavourful than forage finished beef, with lower (P ≤ 0.05) ratings for tenderness and juiciness for hay- vs. silage-finished beef. Corn finished beef contained greater amounts of oleic and monounsaturated fatty acids and lower amounts of omega-3 and polyunsaturated fatty acids than forage finished beef (P ≤ 0.04). Although the method of forage finishing may not affect most performance, carcass, and meat quality (pH, colour, intramuscular fat content, and shear force) traits, there may be concerns with tenderness and juiciness for beef from cattle finished on alfalfa hay.

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C. Lafreniere, R. Berthiaume, L. Giesen, C.P. Campbell, L.M. Pivotto-Baird, and I.B. Mandell "Effects of forage finishing methods with alfalfa on cattle growth performance and beef carcass characteristics, eating quality, and nutrient composition," Canadian Journal of Animal Science 101(1), 30-48, (14 July 2020). https://doi.org/10.1139/cjas-2019-0121
Received: 4 July 2019; Accepted: 21 January 2020; Published: 14 July 2020
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