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Article

Effects of A Concentrate Rich in Agro-Industrial By-Products on Productivity Results, Carcass Characteristics and Meat Quality Traits of Finishing Heifers

Departamento de Producción Animal, Universidad de Córdoba, Ctra. Madrid-Cádiz, km 396. Campus de Rabanales, 14071 Córdoba, Spain
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Animals 2020, 10(8), 1311; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081311
Received: 13 July 2020 / Revised: 21 July 2020 / Accepted: 24 July 2020 / Published: 30 July 2020
In geographic areas where it is not possible to finish beef cattle on pastures or preserved forages, diets are mainly based on cereals. This intensive feeding system competes for feed with other species and does not take advantage of the capacity of ruminants to digest fibrous feeds. Moreover, cereal-rich diets for ruminants cannot be considered sustainable under current policy guidelines and make no significant contribution to the circular bioeconomy. We assayed an alternative intensive finishing diet for beef heifers where agro-industrial by-products, some of them highly fibrous ones, comprised 73.5% of the concentrate. We found that there were no differences in growth performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality traits between treatments, which might be considered positive from the point of view of sustainability of beef production. We also found that instrumental measures of meat related to important sensory attributes for consumer acceptance can be improved by increasing ageing time from 7 to 21 or 28 days.
Finishing diets in intensive beef production systems are mainly based on cereals, which does not take advantage of the capacity of the ruminant digestive system to digest fibrous feeds, cannot be considered sustainable and does not contribute to the circular bioeconomy. Our aim was to investigate the effects of an alternative concentrate rich in agro-industrial by-products for finishing crossbred Limousine heifers. Four pens with 12 heifers and four pens with 13 heifers were randomly allocated to one of two treatments: control (CON), a commercial concentrate with a 43.3% cereal composition, and alternative (ALT), a concentrate with a composition of 22% cereals and 73.5% agro-industrial by-products. Growth performance data were collected along the 91 days of the experimental period. Carcass characteristics were collected after slaughter and 24 h later. Vacuum-packaged samples from longissimus muscle were aged for 7, 21 or 28 days to study meat quality traits. Feed intake was higher and feed conversion rate was poorer in the ALT treatment, but no differences were found in average daily gain and feeding costs. Treatment had no effects on any of the measured carcass traits (grading, hot and cold carcass weight, dressing out, chilling losses, subcutaneous fat depth, pH, temperature and lean and fat colour) nor on the meat quality traits (drip loss, cooking loss, shear force, oxidative stability, chromatic indices and pigment contents). Ageing time decreased drip loss and shear force, increased lightness and did not affect redness or surface colour stability. In conclusion, feeding crossbred Limousine heifers a finishing diet rich in agro-industrial by-products did not have any negative effects on performance, carcass and meat quality traits, which might be considered positive from the point of view of sustainability of beef production. Under the conditions assayed, ageing for 21 and 28 days improved tenderness of meat, without detrimental effects on oxidative stability or traits related to visual acceptability. View Full-Text
Keywords: by-products; finishing heifers; performance; carcass; meat; ageing by-products; finishing heifers; performance; carcass; meat; ageing
MDPI and ACS Style

Moreno Díaz, M.J.; Domenech García, V.; Avilés Ramírez, C.; Peña Blanco, F.; Requena Domenech, F.; Martínez Marín, A.L. Effects of A Concentrate Rich in Agro-Industrial By-Products on Productivity Results, Carcass Characteristics and Meat Quality Traits of Finishing Heifers. Animals 2020, 10, 1311. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081311

AMA Style

Moreno Díaz MJ, Domenech García V, Avilés Ramírez C, Peña Blanco F, Requena Domenech F, Martínez Marín AL. Effects of A Concentrate Rich in Agro-Industrial By-Products on Productivity Results, Carcass Characteristics and Meat Quality Traits of Finishing Heifers. Animals. 2020; 10(8):1311. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081311

Chicago/Turabian Style

Moreno Díaz, María J., Valeriano Domenech García, Carmen Avilés Ramírez, Francisco Peña Blanco, Francisco Requena Domenech, and Andrés L. Martínez Marín. 2020. "Effects of A Concentrate Rich in Agro-Industrial By-Products on Productivity Results, Carcass Characteristics and Meat Quality Traits of Finishing Heifers" Animals 10, no. 8: 1311. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081311

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