Swiss Federal Research Station for Animal Production, Posieux

Carcass qulity of steers of six beef breeds

Carcass quality was investigated in 138 steers of the six beef breeds Angus (AN), Simmental (SI), Charolais (CH), Limousin (LI), Blonde d’Aquitaine (BL) and Piedmontese (PI). In one group, steers were slaughtered at the same finishing degree defined by the fat grading class 3 (CH-TAX, optimally fattened), and in the other group, upon attaining an intramuscular fat content of 3 to 4 % in the longissimus dorsi muscle which was measured ultrasonically. All meat yield characteristics are dominated by CH, LI, PI and mainly BL underlining their muscle growth capacity. CH steers are characterised by a big-boned frame while PI steers have the finest bone structure which strongly influenced the results of carcass cuts and corresponding yield ratios. At the same finishing degree, BL and particularly PI steers reached the best lean ratio. Among the breeds AN, SI, CH and LI slaughtered at the same intramuscular fat content, LI steers had the highest and AN steers the lowest meat yield. To obtain a higher marbling degree of meat, slaughtering should be delayed beyond fat grade 3. However, this proves unfeasible with BL and PI breeds. An increase in marbling degree goes along with a decrease in yield parameters primarily due to a smaller pistola and higher adipose tissue ratio.

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