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Productivity and carcass composition of Friesian, Meuse-Rhine-Issel (MRI) × Friesian and Belgian Blue × Friesian steers

  • M. G. Keane (a1)

Abstract

One hundred and twenty spring-born steers, comprising 40 Friesians (FR), 40 Meuse-Rhine-lssel (MRI) × Friesians (MR), and 40 Belgian Blue × Friesians (BB) were reared together from 3 weeks of age to the start of their second winter. During the second winter there was a 3 (FR, MR and BB breed types) × 2 (3 kg and 6 kg supplementary concentrates per head daily with grass silage ad libitum) × 2 (96- and 220-day finishing periods) factorial arrangement of treatments (10 animals per subgroup). Carcass weights and grades were recorded after slaughter at the end of the second winter, and one side from each of 96 carcasses (eight per subgroup) was dissected into bone, muscle, intermuscular fat and subcutaneous fat. A sample of m. longissimus from the 10th rib was chemically analysed. Slaughter weights and carcass weights per day from arrival to slaughter were 796, 813 and 828 (s.e.d. 11·7) g and 419, 440 and 457 (s.e.d. 7·1) g for FR, MR and BB, respectively. Corresponding carcass weights were 314, 329 and 342 (s.e.d. 4·5) kg. BB had better conformation than both FR and MR. BB also had a lower carcass fat score, lower proportions of bone, intermuscular fat and subcutaneous fat, a higher proportion of muscle and muscle with higher proportion of moisture and a lower proportion of lipid than FR and MR. The higher level of concentrates increased side iveight by 8 kg, but the overall effects on carcass composition were small. The longer finishing period increased side weight by 25 kg and was associated with significantly reduced proportions of bone and muscle and an increased proportion of fat. Allometric regression coefficients for carcass weight on slaughter weight, and for bone, muscle and fat weights on side weight were 1·19, 0·39, 0·80 and 2·16, respectively. It is concluded that despite the better carcass conformation of MR, there was little difference in carcass and muscle composition between FR and MR. BB, in addition to having a higher growth rate and better carcass conformation than FR, also had more muscle in the carcass, more of the total muscle in the higher value joints and a lower proportion of lipid in the muscle. It was calculated that FR, MR and BB would have similar proportions of separable fat in the carcass at approximate carcass weights of 300, 320 and 400 kg, respectively.

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Productivity and carcass composition of Friesian, Meuse-Rhine-Issel (MRI) × Friesian and Belgian Blue × Friesian steers

  • M. G. Keane (a1)

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