There is considerable interest in the use of alternative dairy breeds and cross breeding in the dairy industry as a method of improving herd fertility and longevity. Currently in Northern Ireland 47% of prime beef production is sourced from the dairy herd, and this proportion is likely to increase post implementation of the Mid Term Review of the Common Agricultural Policy. The present study was therefore undertaken to investigate the effects of two pure dairy breeds and their reciprocal crosses on carcass characteristics and meat quality.
Concentrate supplements for finishing beef cattle are normally offered either as coarse or pelleted rations. Currently in Northern Ireland the majority of beef farmers are part time and consequently feeding concentrates in one feed per day is a practical option on many units to reduce labour requirement. The effects of method of processing concentrate supplement and number of feeds per day on carcass characteristics and meat quality were also evaluated in this study.