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Beef cattle on semi-natural grasslands - production of meat and nature conservation

Hessle, Anna (2007). Beef cattle on semi-natural grasslands - production of meat and nature conservation. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Skara : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2007:32
ISBN 978-91-576-7331-2
[Doctoral thesis]

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Beef production is performed in varying systems, with or without grazing, but the common goal is to obtain high-quality carcasses. Semi-natural grasslands are characterized by specific flora and fauna and they are dependent on grazing management to be maintained. The aim of this thesis was to evaluate factors influencing nature conservation, animal performance and meat quality in beef production using semi-natural grasslands in summer. In a first study, effects of breed and season on foraging behaviour and diet composition were studied in heifers grazing semi-natural grasslands. In two further studies, effects of feed intensity and length of rearing period on feed intake, weight gain, feed conversion and carcass traits were investigated. One of these studies included finishing dairy steers, which had grazed semi-natural grasslands in previous summer, and the other study included beef heifers, which were reared from weaning until slaughter including a grazing period on semi-natural grasslands. For the heifers also meat quality, as affected by feed intensity, slaughter age and suspension method, was studied. Foraging behaviour and diet composition were more influenced by season than by breed. Over the grazing period, the heifers decreased their levels of activity, but increased their time spent grazing. The grazing time composed of more eating jaw movements and fewer pauses as the grazing period progressed. Wet areas, dominated by Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hairgrass), were consistently avoided for grazing, whereas browsing on Alnus glutinosa (alder) increased over the grazing period. Increased indoor feed intensities were accompanied by increased weight gains and improved feed conversions. In the steers, an intermediate length of finishing resulted in the best feed conversion. Carcass traits were more affected by length of rearing period than by feed intensity. A prolonged rearing period resulted in heavier and fatter carcasses with increased dressing percentages and improved conformation. Meat from pelvic suspended sides was tenderer than meat from sides suspended by Achilles tendon after 14 days of ageing. Production of quality-grade carcasses with tender meat can be combined with the management of semi-natural grasslands on the conditions of regular controls of animal weights, strategic grazing regimes and proper post-slaughter procedures.

Authors/Creators:Hessle, Anna
Title:Beef cattle on semi-natural grasslands - production of meat and nature conservation
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :April 2007
Number of Pages:33
ALLI. Hessle, A., Rutter, M. & Wallin, K. Effects of breed, season and pasture moisture gradient on foraging behaviour in cattle on semi-natural grasslands. Accepted with revisions. II. Hessle, A., Jörgen Wissman, Jannicke Bertilsson & Erling Burstedt. Effects of breed and season on defoliation and faecal composition in cattle grazing semi-natural grasslands. Submitted. III. Hessle, A., Nadeau, E. & Johnsson, S. 2007. Finishing of dairy steers having grazed semi-natural grasslands. Livestock Science 106, 19-27. IV. Hessle, A., Nadeau, E. & Johnsson, S. 2007. Beef heifer production as affected by indoor feed intensity and slaughter age when grazing semi-natural grasslands in summer. In press in Livestock Science. V. Lundesjö Ahnström, M., Hessle, A., Johansson, L., Hunt, M. C. & Lundström, K. Influence of feeding regimen, animal age and carcass suspension on heifer meat quality. Manuscript.
Place of Publication:Skara
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-7331-2
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agrovoc terms:cattle, beef cattle, meat, quality, carcasses, meat production, seasons, animal breeding, animal feeding, animal performance, grasslands, grassland management, foraging, grazing, nature conservation, natural pastures, environment
Keywords:beef, cattle, finishing, suspension method, breed, season, grazing, foraging, semi-natural grassland, nature conservation
Permanent URL:
ID Code:1348
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Deposited By: Anna Hessle
Deposited On:23 Apr 2007 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:11

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