Impact of calving seasons and feeding systems in western Canada. II. Meat composition and organoleptic quality of steaks.

Durunna, O.N., Block, H.C., Iwaasa, A.D., Scott, S.L., Robins, C.D., Khakbazan, M., Dugan, M.E.R, Aalhus, J.L., Aliani, M., and Lardner, H.A. (2014). "Impact of calving seasons and feeding systems in western Canada. II. Meat composition and organoleptic quality of steaks.", Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 94(4), pp. 583-593. doi : 10.4141/CJAS-2014-034  Access to full text

Abstract

Fatty acid profiling, meat and organoleptic quality assessments were conducted on 160 carcasses of crossbred steers born into one of two calving systems and later assigned to one of two postweaning feeding systems. The steers were weaned from either an early calving or late calving system and later assigned to either a rapid-gain feeding (RF) or a slow-gain feeding (SF) system. The RF steers received a silage–hay diet during the backgrounding period prior to finishing, while the SF steers received a hay diet at backgrounding and then grazed alfalfa–meadow bromegrass pasture and annual cereal swaths prior to finishing. All treatment groups received a conventional diet during finishing until the steers attained a target backfat thickness or body weight. Fatty acid analyses were conducted on longissimus dorsi muscle (LDM) and subcutaneous fat samples. Other analyses included LDM composition, tenderness and taste panel evaluations. Total saturated fatty acid was greater (P<0.02) in samples from RF steers, while total monounsaturated fatty acid was greater (P<0.01) in SF steers. The SF steers had greater (P<0.01) conjugated linoleic acid concentration. There was no main or interaction effect (P>0.05) on beef aroma, flavour and tenderness but the SF steaks had lower (P=0.02) cooking losses than RF steaks. The SF strategy has the potential to create a value chain that would lead to finished steers with higher backfat omega-3, conjugated linoleic acid and trans vaccenic acid and less cooking moisture losses.

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