Performance, carcass traits and meat quality of Aberdeen Angus, Gascon, Holstein and Fleckvieh finishing bulls
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Growth, feeding efficiency, carcass traits, and meat quality (including as measured by sensory analysis) were examined in four cattle breeds differing by age at maturity and purpose of production. A total of 40 bulls of Aberdeen Angus (AA), Gascon (GS), Holstein (HO), and Fleckvieh (FL) breeds were fattened under identical housing and feeding conditions until slaughter at a similar age of 17 months. Whereas no breed difference was found in growth rate, dry matter intake was higher in AA and HO than in GS and FL (P < 0.001). The highest residual feed intake indicating the lowest feeding efficiency was observed in HO (P < 0.001). The highest killing-out and total lean meat proportions were found in GS, the lowest in HO and intermediary in AA and FL (P < 0.01). Lower shear force values indicating more tender meat were measured in grilled meat samples of AA than in HO (P < 0.05), with GS and FL being intermediary. Meat from AA and HO had highest concentrations of dry matter and intramuscular fat (P < 0.001). Most sensory attributes were rated higher in AA compared to the other breeds (P < 0.001). GS samples received the second-best scores (P < 0.001) for tenderness and residue. The study revealed clear differences among breeds in most of the traits examined that may be of value for beef producers. Whereas purebred GS bulls were superior in slaughter and carcass traits, eating quality characteristics were rated highest in AA.
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