Next Article in Journal
Function of Cryopreserved Cat Ovarian Tissue after Autotransplantation
Previous Article in Journal
Effect of Supplementing Hydrolysable Tannins to a Grower–Finisher Diet Containing Divergent PUFA Levels on Growth Performance, Boar Taint Levels in Back Fat and Intestinal Microbiota of Entire Males
Article

Beef Production Systems with Steers of Dairy and Dairy × Beef Breeds Based on Forage and Semi-Natural Pastures

1
Department of Animal Environment and Health, The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 234, SE-532 23 Skara, Sweden
2
Department of Food Science–Differentiated and Biofunctional Foods, Aarhus University, P.O. Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121064
Received: 7 October 2019 / Revised: 10 November 2019 / Accepted: 18 November 2019 / Published: 2 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
Two-thirds of Swedish beef originates from dairy cows and their offspring, and the vast majority of the calves are of pure dairy breeds. At the same time, European Union, EU, and national agri-environmental payments for grazing biodiverse semi-natural pastures are an important source of income for Swedish beef producers. This study investigated whether beef production from dairy cow offspring based on semi-natural pastures could be improved using beef breed bulls as sires, instead of dairy bulls. Dairy × beef breed steers were compared with pure-bred dairy steers in two different production systems, both based on forage and semi-natural pastures, but varying the birth season, indoor feed intensity, number of grazing periods, and slaughter age. There were no differences between the breeds in feed efficiency or liveweight gain during rearing, but there were differences in carcass weight and composition. Based on these results, we concluded that higher-quality carcasses could be obtained if beef breed sires were used in production systems with semi-natural pastures.
This study compared animal performance and carcass characteristics in steers born to a dairy breed dam and a dairy or beef breed sire allocated to one out of two production systems, both including grazing semi-natural pastures during summer. Spring-born groups comprising 16 purebred dairy (D) steers and 16 dairy × Charolais crossbreeds (C) were allocated to moderately high indoor feed intensity with slaughter at 21 months of age (H), while two corresponding autumn-born groups of 16 D and 16 C animals were allocated to low indoor feed intensity with slaughter at 28 months of age (L). The animals were mainly fed grass-clover silage while housed. The H steers grazed semi-natural pastures for one summer, whereas the L steers grazed semi-natural pastures for two summers. From weaning to slaughter, liveweight gain was 0.94 and 0.77 kg day−1 for H and L steers, respectively (p < 0.0001), with no breed effect on weight gain. However, C carcasses had a higher weight, conformation score, and proportion of high-valued retail cuts than D carcasses (p ≤ 0.004). Moreover, conformation differed more between LC and LD than between HC and HD. From this study on forage and pasture-based beef production, we concluded that breed had no effect on the performance of living animals, but that dairy × beef crossbred steers produced heavier and higher-quality carcasses than pure-bred dairy steers. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal performance; carcass characteristics; feed intensity; grazing; nature conservation; semi-natural pasture; steer; cross-breeding animal performance; carcass characteristics; feed intensity; grazing; nature conservation; semi-natural pasture; steer; cross-breeding
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Hessle, A.; Therkildsen, M.; Arvidsson-Segerkvist, K. Beef Production Systems with Steers of Dairy and Dairy × Beef Breeds Based on Forage and Semi-Natural Pastures. Animals 2019, 9, 1064. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121064

AMA Style

Hessle A, Therkildsen M, Arvidsson-Segerkvist K. Beef Production Systems with Steers of Dairy and Dairy × Beef Breeds Based on Forage and Semi-Natural Pastures. Animals. 2019; 9(12):1064. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121064

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hessle, Anna, Margrethe Therkildsen, and Katarina Arvidsson-Segerkvist. 2019. "Beef Production Systems with Steers of Dairy and Dairy × Beef Breeds Based on Forage and Semi-Natural Pastures" Animals 9, no. 12: 1064. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121064

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop