Berthiaume, R., Lafrenière, C., Girard, C., Campbell, C. P., Pivotto, L. M. and Mandell, I. B. 2015. Effects of forage silage species on yearling growth performance, carcass and meat quality, and nutrient composition in a forage based beef production system. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 95: 173-187. Forty weaned, crossbred beef calves (predominantly Angus and Simmental) were forage-finished using all-silage diets (red clover-timothy versus tall fescue) to examine forage species' effects on growth performance, carcass traits, meat quality, and nutrient composition. Weaned calves (257 d of age) were forage-finished using red clover-timothy or tall fescue silage and harvested at approximately 1 yr of age. During carcass processing, one side from each carcass was covered with a polyliner to examine if reducing rates of chilling could compensate for limited fat cover expected from low dietary energy contents fed, and limited time on feed. Longissimus thoracis, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus steaks were aged 10, 14, and 21 d to examine effects on Warner-Bratzler shear force values while fatty acid and vitamin B12 composition were determined on 10-d-aged steaks. Average daily gain, feed efficiency, hot carcass weights, and longissimus muscle area were greater (P<0.03) when cattle were fed red clover-timothy versus tall fescue silage, most likely due to the higher protein content of red clover-timothy silage. Shear force was greater (P<0.002) in steaks from all muscles evaluated from cattle fed tall fescue versus red clover-timothy silage. In comparison to 10-d-aged steaks, 14 d of ageing were needed to reduce (P<0.001) shear force for longissimus steaks, while 21 d of ageing were needed to reduce (P<0.001) shear force for semitendinosus steaks. Use of a polyliner decreased (P=0.0001) the rate of temperature decline at selected carcass sites, but did not reduce shear force values. The percent of n-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acid/saturated fatty acid ratio were greater (P<0.04) in longissimus from cattle fed red clover-timothy versus feeding tall fescue silage. Feeding red clover-timothy silage improved growth performance, carcass, shear force, and fatty acid composition traits versus feeding tall fescue silage.
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Vol. 95 • No. 2