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The effect of grazing saltbush with a barley supplement on the carcass and eating quality of sheepmeat

Pearce, K.L., Norman, H.C., Wilmot, M., Rintoul, A., Pethick, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677 and Masters, D.G. (2008) The effect of grazing saltbush with a barley supplement on the carcass and eating quality of sheepmeat. Meat Science, 79 (2). pp. 344-354.

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The carcass and eating quality of sheep grazing a saltbush dominant saline pasture system or on a ‘control’ dry pasture, stubble plot both supplemented with barley for 14 weeks was investigated (Experiment 1, 50 (2 × 25) 6 month merino lamb wethers and Experiment 2, 50 (2 × 25) 18 month old merino hogget wethers). Treatment had no significant effect on eating quality attributes (P > 0.05). Saltbush grazed sheep in both experiments had a significantly (P < 0.01) lower carcass fat and significantly higher lean (P < 0.01) content than the control grazed sheep. This is a positive finding as fat denudation is a significant cost to processors. The long term consumption of saltbush and barley prior to slaughter did increase muscle fluid content (P < 0.05) but did not result in a decreased carcass weight loss at slaughter due to confounding changes in body composition. Grazing saltbush resulted in increased urine weight (P < 0.001) and decreased urine concentration (P < 0.05) at slaughter indicating an improved hydration status at slaughter. However both experiments demonstrated sub-optimal liveweight gains indicating that saltbush with a barley supplement can still be effectively used as a maintenance ration without compromising carcass and eating quality.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: 2007 Elsevier Ltd
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