An experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that finishing environment can affect beef quality attributes, including fat and meat colour, meat pH, subcutaneous fat depth (FD) and intramuscular fat (IMF) content of pasture-fed beef. 181 rising 2-year old Angus steers were obtained from 4 source farms and finished at 4 North Island locations. On 3 properties, home-bred cattle were compared to a common control line. On a fourth property, cattle from the 3 sources were compared to each other and to the control. FD, meat pH and meat colour were affected by location (P<0.01), but not source. Only source effects were significant (P<0.05) for IMF. Both source and location affected fat colour (P<0.01). Steers that were killed later had significantly (P<0.01) higher meat pH (r=0.33), darker meat (r=-0.24), greater IMF (r=0.26), higher plasma carotene levels at slaughter (r=0.38) and yellower fat b* (r=0.39). The results indicate that both farm of origin and finishing environment can affect meat quality. Both sources of variation appeared to be mediated, in part, by cattle growth rate.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 59, , 282-286, 1999
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