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

Production of veal from suckled beef calves: calf performance

The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of veal production from suckled beef calves under Swiss conditions. The performances of the calves were compared as a function of the genetic type of the mother and their nutritional status was evaluated as a function of the mothers’ diet. The test was carried out with 45 “cow-calf” pairs divided equally between three genetic types (mother breed X father breed): Angus X Charolais (AN), F1 (=Red Holstein X Limousin) X Charolais (F1) and Limousin X Charolais (LI). The animals were kept either in a multiple surface free stall system where the calves did not have access to the mothers’ mangers or in a single surface free stall system where the calves had access to the mothers’ ration. On average, the calves were slaughtered at a live weight of 249 kg, at 5 months and 10 days of age after an average daily increase of 1250 g. More than 90 % of the animals were allotted to the CH-TAX carnosity classes C and H with an average fat tissue cover of 2.3. The meat colour was pink in 44 % of the calves and red in the remainder. The stable system appreciably influenced the average daily consumption of hay and cereals as well as the daily weight gain. Significant differences or trends were also noted between the genetic groups. On the basis of these fattening and carcass performances, this system of production appears to be applicable in practice.

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