Swiss Federal Research Station for Animal Production, Posieux

Fattening performance of steers of six beef breeds

The fattening performance of 138 steers of the beef breeds Angus (AN), Simmental (SI), Charolais (CH), Limousin (LI), Blonde d’Aquitaine (BL) and Piemontese (PI) was investigated over two series. The basic ration fed ad libitum consisted of grass and maize silage in a proportion of 1:2 in the dry matter, which was supplemented with concentrate. The steers were kept in a loose housing system. The decision for slaughter was taken according to two criteria: in the 1st series, upon attaining an intramuscular fat content of 3 to 4% in the longissimus dorsi muscle measured ultrasonically and in the 2nd series, upon attaining fatness score of 3 (middle) with the Swiss grading system (CH-TAX). The examined fattening characteristic revealed marked breed differences. The breeds were classified in groups and ranked as follows: feed intake 1) AN 2) SI, CH, LI, BL 3) PI, growth rate and feed conversion ratio: 1) AN, SI, CH 2) LI, BL 3) PI, maturity: 1) AN 2) SI, CH, LI 3) BL, PI, carcass conformation: 1) CH, LI, BL, PI 2) AN, SI, dressing percentage: 1) LI, BL, PI 2) CH 3) AN, SI. It is evidently of prime importance to choose the appropriate breed in accordance with a given production system. Furthermore, the Swiss carcass grading system must be adapted to the particularities of beef breeds.

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