The effects of a finishing strategy on meat quality was studied in 48 Limousin x Red Holstein crossbred steers that had spent the grazing season on an extensively exploited mountain pasture (with a low stocking rate). The duration of the finishing period and the possibility to exploit the compensatory growth potential were of particular interest. The animals were slaughtered either at the end of the grazing season or after a finishing period of four, eight or twelve weeks kept in a barn on straw. The ration consisted of ad libitum fed silage which contained 50% grass and 50% maize on a dry matter basis and of a concentrate feed. During the finishing period daily weight gain was more than twice as high as during the grazing season. Finishing influenced the number as well as the size and the composition of the longissimus dorsi muscle fibres. Drip loss increased with increasing length of the finishing period. The amount of collagen strongly decreased, whereas intramuscular fat increased from 1.4 to 2.3 % after 12 weeks, but shear force, myofibrillar fragmentation index and tenderness remained unchanged. The finishing period after the grazing season thus did not improve meat quality.
Stable climate has an important impact on the respiratory health of horses. In a study on indoor climate quality, three different ventilation systems were tested.
Although milk-production oriented (MPO) cow breeds have also become established in the mountain region, farms with the dual-purpose ‘Original Simmental’ breed are proving to be economically viable, with lower costs and higher direct payments making up for lower revenues from milk.
High milk yields before drying-off increase the risk of udder infections during the dry period. An online survey highlights what drying-off methods are currently used and how farmers rate the ‘incomplete milking’ approach for reducing milk yield.