Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Research Station ALP, rte de la Tioleyre 4, 1725 Posieux

Finishing of steers following a summering period on mountain pastures: effect of feeding intensity on fattening performance

Crossbred steers of the Limousin x Swiss Fleckvieh breed were summered on low input mountain pastures with varying stocking rates. During the subsequent finishing period, the effect of feeding intensity on fattening performance was investigated. Three intensity levels were compared whereby expected total energy supplies were calculated to correspond to 1,5 (int150), 1,75 (int175) or 2 times (int200) maintenance requirements. The basic ration consisted of a mixture of grass and maize silage which was fed in all groups in quantities to correspond to the energy supply level of int150. The basic ration was supplemented with concentrates to reach the higher feeding intensities for steers of the groups int175 and int200.Feeding intensity, i.e. concentrate supplementation did not significantly affect growth. On average, a growth rate of 1,2 kg/day was realized. Feed energy was converted less efficiently along with raising feeding intensities. The finishing period markedly improved carcass conformation and completely restored the lacking subcutaneous adipose tissue to attain the desired finishing degree independently of the chosen feeding intensities. Even though high slaughter weights were reached, not a single overfat carcass was observed. This trial confirms the advantages of a short finishing following a pasture period.

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