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Postweaning substitution of grazed forage with a high-energy concentrate has variable long-term effects on subcutaneous fat and marbling in genotypes

Greenwood, P.L., Siddell, J.P., Walmsley, B.J., Geesink, G.H., Pethick, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677 and McPhee, M.J. (2015) Postweaning substitution of grazed forage with a high-energy concentrate has variable long-term effects on subcutaneous fat and marbling in genotypes. Journal of Animal Science, 93 (8). pp. 4132-4143.

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The objective of this study was to quantify the effects and interactions of stage of growth and genotype on commercial carcass traits and intramuscular fat (IMF) content in 5 muscles of Bos taurus steers (n = 165) and to test the hypothesis that substituting pasture with a high-energy concentrate during the immediate postweaning period increases IMF. Cattle of 3 genotypes (Angus, Hereford, and Wagyu × Angus; n = 55/genotype) were selected at weaning from commercial herds, targeting genotypic differences in marbling and subcutaneous fatness. Following weaning, steers were fed for 168 d within 2 different improved, temperate pasture-based nutritional systems: a forage-only system (FS) and forage with high-energy supplemented system (SS), with 2 replicates per system. The supplement was fed at a level of 1% of average BW adjusted every 2 wk to provide an estimated 50% of energy requirements for 168 d from weaning. Pasture on offer in both systems was managed to match the BW of the FS and SS steers during the postweaning treatment period to avoid confounding due to differences in growth rate during this period. Steers were then regrouped into 2 replicates and backgrounded on improved, temperate pasture for 158 d and then grain fed within 1 group for 105 d (short fed) or 259 d (long fed). Groups were slaughtered at commencement (d 0) and end of postweaning nutritional treatments (d 168), end of backgrounding (d 326), and after short (d 431) or long feedlotting (d 585). Serial slaughter stage had an effect on all traits assessed (P < 0.01). The FS steers had more rib fat (P < 0.01) and higher Meat Standards Australia marbling score (P < 0.05) and a tendency (P < 0.10) to have greater eye muscle area than the SS steers throughout the study. Genotypic differences were evident (P < 0.05) for all traits assessed except HCW, dressing percentage, rib fat depth, ossification score, ultimate pH, and IMF in the semitendinosus muscle. The results for marbling and IMF do not support the use of a high-energy feed as a substitute for an equivalent amount of energy from pasture during the immediate postweaning period to enhance development of marbling.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: American Society of Animal Science
Copyright: © 2015. American Society of Animal Science.
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