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Effect of flaxseed and forage type on carcass and meat quality of finishing cull cows

Hernández-Calva, L.M., He, M., Juárez, M., Aalhus, J.L., Dugan, M.E.R., Mcallister, T.A. (2011). Effect of flaxseed and forage type on carcass and meat quality of finishing cull cows, 91(4), 613-622.


Sixty-two cull cows were fed one of four diets in a 2×2 factorial arrangement, consisting of barley silage or grass hay with or without flaxseed to influence fatty acid composition. After slaughter, carcass grade, meat quality and sensory data were collected. Silage increased live (P=0.002) and carcass (P=0.001) weights of the cows as compared with hay. Muscle width (P=0.013) and score (P=0.010) and rib-eye area (P=0.002) were enhanced when silage was included in the diet, whereas supplementation with flaxseed increased (P=0.003) grade fat depth by 29%. Most subjective and objective retail evaluation traits in steaks from the left longissimus thoracis and ground meat were negatively affected (PB0.05) by the length of the retail display time. Moreover, dietary hay increased (P=0.015) the lean colour values in steaks and ground beef, which was corroborated by lower L* (P=0.009) and higher hue (P=0.010) in steaks and lower L* (P=0.049), chroma (P=0.005) in ground beef as compared with cows fed silage. A significant interaction between forage type and flax inclusion for thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) (P=0.050) was observed. After sensory evaluation, steaks from cows fed silage had an increase (P=0.030) in beef flavour intensity when compared with cows fed hay, whereas inclusion of flaxseed in the diet decreased (P<0.001) beef flavour intensity in steaks from cows fed both forage sources. Sensory evaluation of ground beef found that hay-fed cows with flaxseed supplementation had decreased (P=0.03) beef flavour intensity, while the same effect was not observed in ground beef from cows fed silage with flaxseed. Results from this study show that inclusion of flaxseed in the diet reduced off-flavours in steak, but for ground beef this response depended on the source of forage in the diet.

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