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Title: ANIMAL PERFORMANCE AND CARCASS CHARACTERISTICS OF PASTURE-FINISHED STEERS AS INFLUENCED BY WINTER GAIN

Author
item Neel, James - Jim
item Clapham, William
item Fontenot, Joseph
item Lewis, Paul

Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2003
Publication Date: 4/27/2003
Citation: NEEL, J.P., CLAPHAM, W.M., FONTENOT, J.P., LEWIS, P.E. ANIMAL PERFORMANCE AND CARCASS CHARACTERISTICS OF PASTURE-FINISHED STEERS AS INFLUENCED BY WINTER GAIN. AMERICAN FORAGE AND GRASSLAND COUNCIL PROCEEDINGS. 2003. ABSTRACT P. 29.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Demand for high quality food products from a health conscious consumer base includes lean beef. A large quantity of grass-fed lean beef is imported into the United States. Past research has shown high quality, consumer acceptable, pasture-finished beef can be produced in the U.S, but actual production systems that deliver a consistent product are not available. Animal performance during various phases of the production stream may influence consumer acceptance of pasture-finished beef and increased knowledge is needed to plan pasture-finished beef production systems. An experiment is under way to evaluate the influence of steer performance during the winterfeeding phase on subsequent performance and carcass characteristics of pasture-finished cattle. Thirty-six steers, born in spring of the current year, were randomly assigned to one of three winter treatments, designed to produce animal average daily gain (ADG) of 0.5, 1.0 or 1.5 lb d-1. Animals were harvested following pasture finishing (approximately 18 months of age). Actual winter period ADG for the treatments were 0.8, 1.2 and 1.8 lb. Animal finish weight was influenced by winter gain (P< 0.1) 1030, 1110 and 1121 lb for the low (L), medium (M) and high (H) winter treatments respectively. Overall finish period ADG was not influenced (P= 0.12) by winter treatment with means being 2.4, 2.4 and 2.1 lb d -1 respectively. Carcass weight differed (P< 0.05) among treatments with lighter weight carcasses coming from the L winter treatment vs. the M and H (533 vs. 578 and 597 lb respectively). Dressing percentage, yield grade, rib fat, rib-eye area, % Kidney Pelvic and Heart Fat (KPH) and quality grade were not influenced by winter treatment. Our findings indicate stocker performance during winterfeeding can vary greatly without influencing key carcass attributes.