Carcass characteristics and meat quality of once-calved heifers

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Three groups of once-calved (OCH) heifers were slaughtered following the weaning of their calves at 3 (OCH3, n = 32), 5 (OCH5, n = 33) and 7 (OCH7, n = 31) months postcalving. A fourth group of heifers was fed a silage/grain diet and slaughtered at 15 mo of age (C, n = 32). Alternate sides of each carcass were electrically stimulated (ES) at 475 volts for 1 min (20 pulses m−1, 60 Hz) at 45 min post-stunning. All left sides were dissected into fat, lean and bone and meat quality parameters recorded. Rib eye steaks were evaluated for palatability by a trained panel and for consumer acceptability after an aging period of 6 d. All OCH groups produced heavier carcasses with a higher level of marbling than the C group after adjustment of the data to a constant proportion of carcass fatness, but the proportional yields of lean and bone tissue were similar for all heifer groups. OCH groups produced meat that was darker with a lower drip loss and higher 45 min and 6 d pH than the C group. Consumer acceptability of rib eye steaks was similar for all heifer groups, but the OCH7 (oldest) group had a higher amount of connective tissue when evaluated by a trained panel than other heifer groups. Taste panel evaluations showed that ES increased meat tenderness and overall palatability and reduced the amount of connective tissue when compared to meat from unstimulated carcasses. ES also increased the consumer acceptability of tenderness by 14.3%, flavor by 5.6%, juiciness by 5.2% and overall palatability by 6.7% over meat from unstimulated carcasses. It was concluded that once-calved heifers could produce heavier carcasses of similar composition and meat with similar eating quality to conventionally managed nonpregnant feedlot heifers. Electrical stimulation improved the consumer acceptability of meat primarily through an improvement in meat tenderness.

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
  • License
    @1991 Vincent, B. C., Jones, S. D. M., Jeremiah, L. E., Price, M. A., Newman, J. A. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Vincent, B.C., S.D.M. Jones, L.E. Jeremiah, Price, M.A. and Newman, J.A. (1991). Carcass characteristics and meat quality of once-calved heifers. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 71, 311-319.
  • Link to related item