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Performance and meat quality of suckling calves grazing cultivated pasture or free range in mountain.

By Håvard Steinshamn, Mats Höglind, Øystein Havrevoll, Kristin Saarem, Inger Helene Lombnæs, Geir Steinheim and Asgeir Svendsen


The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of grazing on mountain (M) versus cultivated lowland pasture (C) on the performance and meat quality of suckling calves (Experiment 1 and 2). In addition, the effect of finishing on C after M on growth and meat quality was assessed (Experiment 2). Animals on C and M had on average similar live weight gain and carcass weight in the first experiment. However, the performance depended on year as gain and carcass weight was higher on C than on M in the first year and vice versa in the second year. In the second experiment the calves on M had lower gain and carcass weight than on C. Three week finishing on C after M compensated to some extent for the lower growth rate on M. Overall, the results indicate that mountain grazing may yield similar growth rates and slaughter weights as improved lowland pasture depending on year. There were only small effects of pasture type on carcass and meat quality traits like conformation, fatness, intramuscular fat and protein content, and fatty acid (FA) composition. The variation in FA composition could to a large extent be explained by difference in fatness with increase in monounsaturated and decrease in polyunsaturated FA with increasing intramuscular fat content, in turn varying between pasture type, experiment and year. There was a tendency that M led to higher proportion of C18:1n-9 and lower proportion of C18:1n-7 than C, which may be due to difference in milk and forage intake. Both pasture types resulted in meat with intramuscular fat with high nutritional value since the n-6/n-3 ratio was lo

Topics: Pasture and forage crops, Food security, food quality and human health, Beef cattle, Feeding and growth, Landscape and recreation
Year: 2010
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Provided by: Organic Eprints

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