Significant numbers of livestock in New Zealand are now grazed on the understorey of Pinus radiata. Fresh foliage of radiata pine contains aromatic monoterpenes and decaying needles resin acids. As livestock grazed under trees are know to eat both fresh and decaying pine needles, a study was made to find out if the meat quality characteristics of lambs grazed under P. radiata were affected. Groups of Romney wether lambs were grazed for 49 d under P. radiata at 100 and 200 stems/ha and on open pasture (no trees). In addition, 2 groups were stall fed for 21 d with 23 and 21% of their intake as fresh or decaying pine needles respectively. All the lambs were slaughtered on the same day. Meat samples from each were subjected to a range of meat quality tests. Meat from the lambs grazed under the trees, or consuming fresh or decaying needles had slightly different colour and muscle pH levels, but there were no significant effects on its flavour, aroma, texture, juiciness or tenderness. It was concluded that there are no meat taints associated with lambs grazed under radiata pine.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 47, , 143-146, 1987
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