Twelve buffalo (5 bulls & 7 steers) at c.33 mo of age were compared with 16 Friesian cross cattle (6 bulls & 10 steers) at c. 29 mo of age. The 2 species had not been run together, but were slaughtered and processed concurrently. Carcass weights were unaffected by species or castration (mean=258.6 kg). Relative to cattle, buffalo had shorter carcasses, higher dressing-out percentages, greater fat depths, more kidney and pelvic fat, and lower eye-muscle areas (all P<0.01). Buffalo had heavier hearts and spleens (P<0.001), and lighter livers and weights of rumen digesta (P<0.001). Buffalo rumen digesta contained fewer particles over 4.0 mm, but the size of particles in the abomasum was similar for both species. Yields of commercial cuts did not differ between buffalo and steers, but cattle steers had more fat trim, less meat, heavier striploins, and a higher ratio of hind-to forequarter meat than bulls (all P<0.05). Relative to the cattle, buffalo carcasses had lighter inside and cube roll cuts, but heavier outside flats, more fat trim, and a higher proportion of forequarter meat (all P<0.05). Buffalo fat was less yellow. Ultimate pH of cube-roll (M. longissimus) samples were higher for bulls than steers within cattle, and higher for cattle than buffalo (each P<0.05), possibly because the buffalo had been handled more. Other quality differences that could have been pH-related were the lower shear values (indicating more tender meat) and lower water-holding capacity (each P<0.01) of buffalo meat. However, colour (L*, a*, b* values), and sarcomere lengths were similar. Intramuscular fat levels were similar for meat from buffalo and cattle steers, but were much lower for bull beef. This is the first set of cattle/buffalo comparative data for carcass and meat quality collected under New Zealand conditions and will be of value when evaluating the role of Buffalo in this country.

JC, McEwan, JN Clarke, SM Hickey, and KJ Knowler

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 53, , 347-350, 1993
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