Main content area

Nutrition during mid to late gestation affects growth, adipose tissue deposition, and tenderness in cross-bred beef steers

Underwood, K.R., Tong, J.F., Price, P.L., Roberts, A.J., Grings, E.E., Hess, B.W., Means, W.J., Du, M.
Meat science 2010 v.86 no.3 pp. 588
crossbreds, beef cows, steers, gestation period, cow feeding, maternal nutrition, pastures, grazing, feed conversion, crude protein, organic matter, slaughter, beef carcasses, longissimus dorsi, steaks, animal growth, adipose tissue, beef quality, meat tenderness, carcass composition, protein deposition, animal performance, shear strength
The objective of this study was to examine whether the plane of nutrition of cows at a critical time for fetal skeletal muscle and adipose tissue development would affect meat quality and carcass composition of offspring. To alter maternal nutrition, beef cows were placed on improved pasture (IP) or native range (NR) pasture from 120 to 150 through 180 to 210days of gestation. Esophageal extrusa samples collected from cows grazing IP varied from 11.1% crude protein of organic matter early in the test period to 6.0% crude protein of organic matter at the end of the grazing period; whereas, extrusa samples of cows grazing NR ranged from 6.5% crude protein of organic matter during early grazing to 5.4% crude protein of organic matter at the end of the grazing period. Steers were slaughtered and carcass characteristics were collected. Warner-Bratzler shear force was performed on longissumus steaks, western blotting was used to measure proteolysis, and myosin isoform typing was performed. Improved pasture steers had heavier live and hot carcass weights. Tenderness was greater in IP compared to NR steers. No difference in calpastatin content and troponin-T degradation was observed between treatments. The 12th rib fat thickness was greater for IP than for NR steers. Subcutaneous adipose tissue of IP steers tended to have a greater number of cells per field of view than NR steers. Data show improving nutritional status of cows during mid to late gestation affects tenderness, adipose tissue deposition and growth in steers.