Groups of five stags and hinds were slaughtered in late summer (February/March) to examine the effects of age and sex of animal on meat quality. For both sexes the groups were the following ages: 1, 2, 3 and 5 years. In the 2 year old age group for stags there were three weight groups and additionally there was one group of 8 year old stags and one of 13 year old hinds. The group mean hot carcass weight (HCW) range was 51 to 119 kg for stags and 43 to 57 kg for hinds. The HCW`s tended to increase with age but the `light` and `medium` weight 2 year old males had lower (P< 0.05) mean HCW than all of the other male groups including the 1 year olds. The GR increase with age was much greater in stags than in hinds; 80% of the stags 3 years and older and 27% of the hinds 3 years and older graded over-fat. In both hinds and stags, GR was strongly related to carcass weight. Meat from 5 and 8 year old stags was much tougher (P< 0.05) than that from all other groups. Of all the attributes measured as possible indicators of animal age, only carcass neck a* value (redness) was able to accurately discriminate ages of animal and provided the best categorisation of animals into tenderness classes.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 59, , 137-139, 1999
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