The effects of method of forage-finishing and cattle breed on growth performance, carcass characteristics, meat quality, and fatty acid composition

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Shepherd, Lyle
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University of Guelph

Three methods of forage-finishing (pasture, silage, hay) for beef cattle were used to evaluate growth performance, carcass traits, meat quality, and fatty acid composition relative to grain-finished beef. Two hundred steers (100 Angus, 100 Hereford) were equally allocated (based on size) to 2 locations, evaluating alfalfa or grass forages as alternatives to grain. Growth performance and carcass traits were greater for grain-finished steers. Forage-finishing increased (P < 0.02) concentrations of alpha-linolenic acid and total omega-3 fatty acids vs. grain-finishing. A trained taste panel found no difference (P > 0.05) in tenderness between forage-and grain-finished beef. Beef flavour intensity was greater (P < 0.05) in grain-finished beef. Generally, method of forage-finishing did not affect palatability attributes of beef relative to a grain-finished product but did affect fatty acid composition regardless of whether alfalfa or grass was used for forage-finishing. Angus and Hereford results were similar.

Forage-Finished Beef, Grass-fed beef, Growth Performance, Forage-finishing, Alfalfa, Carcass traits, Meat quality, fatty acids, Sensory evaluation, Taste Panel, Angus, Hereford