This study provides baseline information on the level of marbling that can be produced from yearling heifers of Angus origin when finished over a medium-term, 169 day, period on a high energy pasture. Two groups of heifers were tested, which included 30 Angus x Jersey heifers and 26 straight-bred and cross-bred (mainly Hereford x and Friesian x) Angus heifers. The daily live weight gain of the heifers during finishing averaged 788 g/d and did not differ between the two groups of heifers studied (P >0.05). At slaughter, the carcass weights of the Angus x Jersey heifers were lighter than the group of straight-bred and cross-bred Angus heifers (P <0.05). Nevertheless, both groups produced average striploin marbling scores of 2 on the Japanese Meat Grading Association 12 point scale (P >0.05), with 39% of the cattle achieving scores ≥2. The high level of variability in marbling across both groups of heifers indicated that the average level of marbling achieved could be further improved by using some predictor of marbling performance to select animals to be finished in the pasture-based system. All of the heifers produced very tender beef with average shear force values <5 kg F.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 70, Palmerston North, 183-188, 2010
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