Recent research indicated that reduced carcass muscling and weight are associated with beef dark cutting. Existing data from a single farm (44 heifers, 136 steers) from three normal beef quality grades (Canada AAA, AA, A) and the dark cutting grade (Canada B4) (n = 35, 106, 28, and 11, respectively) were used to identify relationships between sex, live animal, and carcass characteristics and the incidence of dark cutting. Categorical modelling showed a trend (P = 0.106) for heifer carcasses to have a greater probability [11.36 ± 4.78% standard error of the mean (SEM)] of dark cutting than carcasses from steers (4.4 ± 1.76% SEM). Mixed model analysis of variance indicated dark cutting heifers weighed less than cattle from normal grades at weaning (P = 0.0229) and slaughter (P = 0.0295). Logistic regression revealed that the probability of each carcass grade occurring was influenced by dry matter intake (DMI) (P = 0.0034), and the probability of dark cutting was lowest (P = 0.0286) in cattle with carcasses greater than 300 kg. Results suggested that cattle at risk of dark cutting may be identified by weight, average daily gain (ADG), and feed intake.
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