Carcass, Sensory, Quality and Instrumental Color Characteristics of Serially Harvested Forage-Fed Beef
Type of Degreedissertation
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Striploins were used in two successive studies to evaluate the effects of serially harvested forage-finished steers and forage vs. grain-finished beef. The first study included six groups of steers that were serially harvested over 280 d while grazing forages. Average daily gain, fiber type determination, sensory evaluation, Warner-Bratzler shear force, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), fatty acid profile, instrumental color characteristics, and carcass characteristics were determined. Data were analyzed using mixed-model procedures with fixed effects of days on forage. Results indicate that animals that had increased days on forage had increased BW, HCW, LM areas and marbling scores. Fatty acid profiles were impacted by the different days on forage. Forage type appears to have no impact (P > 0.05) on sensory, quality or fatty acid profile characteristics in beef. In the second study, striploins from forage- or grain-fed cattle were procured for comparison of quality and sensory characteristics. Striploins were aged 21 d and cut into steaks for analyses of fresh and display quality and sensory evaluation to determine the effects of both grain-and forage-finishing on fresh and display steaks. Analyses included fresh Warner-Bratzler shear force, sensory evaluation, fatty acid profile, TBARS, and display Warner-Bratzler shear force, sensory evaluation and TBARS. Instrumental color characteristics were determined on display steaks while in simulated retail display. Data were analyzed using mixed-model procedures with finishing type and aging period as fixed effects. Results indicate that steaks from grain-finished cattle were more tender (P < 0.05) while steaks from forage-finished were juicier (P < 0.05). Steaks from grain-finished cattle had more (P < 0.05) mg fatty acid / mg meat than steaks from forage-fed cattle. Steaks from forage-fed cattle had a lower (P < 0.05) n6:n3 ratio than steaks from grain-finished cattle. Results from both studies indicate that forage-finishing of beef can yield steaks with similar juiciness to grain-finished beef and greater amounts of n-3 fatty acids. However, tenderness and consistency issues need to be addressed in future research.