Growth paths for suckler bulls slaughtered at 19 months of age: a meat quality perspective
This experiment aimed to assess the effect of different indoor winter growth rates (WGR) followed by different concentrate supplementation levels at pasture on meat quality of 90 bulls. During the first winter, bulls were offered grass silage ad libitum and either 3 kg (WGR3) or 6 kg (WGR6) of concentrates. After turn-out to pasture, bulls were offered: grass without supplementation (PO), grass plus 0.2 predicted dry matter intake (DMI) as concentrates (PL) or grass plus 0.4 predicted DMI as concentrates (PH). After finishing, colour, chemical composition (unaged), instrumental texture and sensory characteristics (14 days of ageing) of longissimus thoracis were measured. WGR6 bulls had heavier carcasses than WGR3 bulls. There was an interaction between WGR and supplementation for instrumental texture and redness ( a ). Within WGR3, PO beef was the most tender, whereas within WRG6, PL was the most tender. However, these differences were not detected by the sensory panel. Within WGR3, redness was the lowest for PL, whereas within WRG6, PO was the least red. No differences were found for chemical composition. The multivariate analysis highlighted WGR as the main variable affecting meat quality characteristics. In conclusion, variations in growth path exerted minor effects on appearance and instrumental texture which did not affect the perception of bull beef by a trained sensory panel.
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