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Understanding the effect of gender and age on the pattern of fat deposition in cattle

Pugh, A., McIntyre, B. and Pethick, D.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677 (2004) Understanding the effect of gender and age on the pattern of fat deposition in cattle. In: 55th Annual Meeting of the European Association for Animal Protection, 5 - 9 September, Bled, Slovenia.


This experiment investigated changes in fat deposition, including intramuscular fat (imf), and total rib fat (subcutaneous, and intermuscular), with respect to the growth of Angus heifers and steers as they reach maturity. This was a serial slaughter experiment where 90 Angus steers and 75 heifers were grown in a feedlot and randomly allocated to a slaughter weight in a 200kg to 400kg carcass weight range. Measurements taken on each of the cattle at slaughter were total rib fat from a 6 rib fat dissection (4th/5th to 10th/11th ribs), imf content of the m. Iongissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL), and Meat Standards Australia carcass grading data. Analysis of the results using general linear models showed that at any given fatness level, steers had a significantly higher level of intramuscular fat (p<0.0001) when compared to heifers, though at the same carcass weight there was no significant difference (P >0.05). There was a significantly linear increase (P<0.0001) in imf of the LTL as proportion of total dissectible fat. It can be concluded that steers are more efficient than heifers with respect to accumulation of imf, as they have a higher level of imf at the same fatness level.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
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