Effect of preslaughter feeding and ractopamine hydrochloride supplementation on growth performance, carcass characteristics, and end product quality in market dairy cows

J. D. Allen, J. K. Ahola, M. Chahine, J. I. Szasz, C. W. Hunt, C. S. Schneider, G. K. Murdoch, R. A. Hill

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15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An experiment was conducted in market dairy cows to determine the effect of feeding time and ractopamine hydrochloride (RAC) on growth performance, carcass characteristics, and end product quality. In 3 replicates, 9 Holstein cows per replicate (n = 27; 659 ± 25.3 kg initial BW) culled from 3 dairies were randomly assigned to 3 treatments: 1) slaughter immediately (control), 2) feed for 90 d (NoR), or 3) feed for 90 d with RAC (312 mg·cow -1 ·d -1 ) for the final 32 d (RAC). On d 0, NoR and RAC cows were placed in individual pens and fed a high concentrate diet (86% concentrate, DM basis) for 90 d before slaughter. All cows were subjectively scored for BCS and locomotion score on d 0, and NoR and RAC cows were evaluated again after 90 d. Individual DMI was recorded daily throughout the trial, and BW was collected every 14 d. Age and age × treatment did not affect (P > 0.05) any of the traits evaluated in this study. When cows fed for 90 d (NoR and RAC combined) were compared with nonfed controls, fed cows had greater (P < 0.001) final BCS, BW and HCW, lower (P < 0.001) final locomotion score, and greater (P < 0.03) dressing percentage, external fat thickness, and marbling score. Fed cows also tended to have more desirable yield grade (P = 0.08), ribeye area (P = 0.11), fat color (P = 0.09), lean maturity (P = 0.06), and quality grade (P = 0.09) compared with control cows. Warner-Bratzler shear force was not affected (P = 0.23) by feeding. However, a 12-member trained sensory panel revealed that fed cow carcasses had more desirable (P < 0.04) tenderness, juiciness, and overall acceptability than control cow carcasses. Flavor intensity also tended (P = 0.10) to be more desirable for fed vs. control cows. No difference (P > 0.10) in off-flavor was detected among treatments. Finally, there was no effect (P > 0.10) of RAC on growth performance, carcass characteristics, or end product quality. In conclusion, feeding a high concentrate diet for 90 d improved important live animal, carcass, and end product characteristics related to the quality and palatability of beef from market dairy cows; however, no effect of RAC supplementation was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2400-2408
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume87
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2009

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