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The effects of withholding feed and water on carcass shrinkage and meat quality in beef cattle

, : The effects of withholding feed and water on carcass shrinkage and meat quality in beef cattle. Meat Science 28(2): 131-139

Eighty beef crossbred steers with an average weight of 493 kg (4·66 kg SD) were allocated at random to one of five treatments to assess the effects of withholding feed and water on carcass shrinkage and meat quality. The five treatments were: slaughter from the feedlot (T1); and 12, 24, 36 and 48 h periods without feed and water prior to slaughter (T2-5).Weights were taken of the live animal and the carcass to monitor shrinkage along with relevant meat quality measurements. There were no treatment differences (P > 0·05) in initial farm weight, but plant weight shrinkage increased from 31gkg(-1) for T1 to 106 g kg(-1) for T5. Warm carcass weight decreased (P < 0·05) from 278·8 kg for T1, to 270·7 kg for T3 and 261·9 kg for T5. Liver, alimentary tract components, hide and head decreased as a proportion of farm weight as time without feed and water increased. Muscle pH at 6 days post mortem was increased (P < 0·05) in T3-5 compared to T1, with the result that muscle colour became darker, and steaks had less drip loss. Shear values increased (P < 0·05) from 6·3 kg in T1 to 7·7 kg in T4 and T5 indicating an increase in muscle toughness as time without feed and water increased. It was concluded that steers lose live weight rapidly within the first 24 h without feed and water, and that these relatively short periods of time (24 h) can have detrimental effects on carcass shrinkage and muscle quality.

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Accession: 002249656

PMID: 22055514

DOI: 10.1016/0309-1740(90)90037-7

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