October 6, 2008


Cattle feeding changes to reduce costs have negative consequences on beef 



High feed costs have made it attractive to nurture cattle to heavier weights, but there are other implications for the beef produced as a result, a Kansas State University animal scientist said.


Feedlots have traditionally fed cattle high-grain diets for 120 to 180 days.


K-State meat scientist Michael Dikeman said the consequences of feeding cattle less than 100 days may result in lower dressing percentage, reduced marbling, yellow fat, less attractive meat colour, altered taste and tenderness and less output per animal.


Dikeman said studies show feeding wet distillers grains (DSG) and dry corn may have the following consequences of a 40- to 50-percent increase in polyunsaturated fatty acids in meat from cattle fed higher levels of wet DSG from corn, more rapid lipid oxidation while meat is on retail display, compromised color stability and a 10- to 50-percent reduction in shelf life, and increased off-flavor intensity ratings.


On the other hand, Dikeman said a large study conducted by K-State researchers found there were no negative effects on meat quality from feeding cattle steam-flaked corn and 25 percent dry DSG.

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