Influence of beef genotypes on animal performance, carcass traits, meat quality, and sensory characteristics in grazing or feedlot-finished steers
Maciel, I.C.F.; Schweihofer, J.P.; Fenton, J.I.; Hodbod, J.; McKendree, M.G.S.; Cassida, K.; Rowntree, J.E.
Translational Animal Science 5(4): Txab 214
ISSN/ISBN: 2573-2102 PMID: 34888490 Accession: 079498448
A 2-yr study was conducted to evaluate the effects of beef genotypes and feeding systems on performance, carcass traits, meat quality, and sensory attributes. A 2×2 factorial experiment was used to randomly allocate 60 steers in year 1 (YR1) and 44 steers in year 2 (YR2). The two beef genotypes evaluated were Red Angus (RA), and RA x Akaushi (AK) crossbreed. The steers were allotted to two finishing feeding systems: grazing, a multi-species forage mixture (GRASS) and feedlot finishing, conventional total mixed ration (GRAIN). All steers were slaughtered on the same day, at 26 and 18 mo of age (GRASS and GRAIN, respectively), and carcass data were collected 48 h postmortem. Growth and slaughter characteristics were significantly impacted by the finishing system (P < 0.01), with the best results presented by GRAIN. Beef genotype affected dressing percent (P < 0.01), ribeye area (P = 0.04), and marbling score (P = 0.01). The AK steers had a tendency (P = 0.09) for lower total gain; however, carcass quality scores were greater compared to RA. There was a genotype by system interaction for USDA yield grade (P < 0.01), where it was lower in GRASS compared to GRAIN in both genotypes, and no difference was observed between the two genotypes for any GRASS or GRAIN systems. There was no difference in meat quality or sensory attributes (P > 0.10) between the two genotypes, except that steaks from AK tended to be juicier than RA (P = 0.06). Thawing loss and color variables were impacted by the finishing system (P < 0.01). L* (lightness) and hue angle presented greater values while a* (redness), b* (yellowness), and chroma presented lower values in GRAIN compared to GRASS. Sensory attributes were scored better in GRAIN than GRASS beef (P < 0.01). There was a genotype by system interaction for flavor (P = 0.02), where beef from RA had a lower flavor rating in GRASS than in GRAIN, and no difference was observed for AK. Within each system, no difference was observed for flavor between RA and AK. Beef from steers in GRASS had greater (P < 0.01) WBSF than those from GRAIN. These results indicate that steers from GRAIN had superior performance and carcass merit and that AK enhanced these traits to a greater degree compared to RA. Furthermore, the beef finishing system had a marked impact on the steaks' sensory attributes and consumer acceptability. The favorable results for texture and juiciness in GRAIN, which likely impacted overall acceptability, may be related to high marbling.