Articles | Volume 50, issue 1
10 Oct 2007
 | 10 Oct 2007

Beef versus dairy cattle: a comparison of feed conversion, carcass composition, and meat quality

R. Pfuhl, O. Bellmann, C. Kühn, F. Teuscher, K. Ender, and J. Wegner

Abstract. The objective of this study was to investigate the phenotypical differences in feed conversion, carcass composition, and meat quality of two cattle breeds representing either the accretion type (Charolais) or the secretion type (Holstein). Eighteen Charolais bulls and 18 German Holstein bulls were raised and fattened under identical conditions on a high energy level with concentrates and hay. The animals were slaughtered at the age of 18 months. Charolais bulls had a body weight (BW) of 750.6 kg and an average daily gain (ADG) of 1377 g. German Holstein bulls were 84.7 kg lighter with an ADG of 1197 g. The energy expense per kg BW gain was 14% lower in the Charolais bulls compared with German Holstein. Charolais bulls gained more energy in protein than the Holstein bulls and needed less energy per kg protein gain in the hot carcass weight (HCW). The Charolais bulls showed a greater carcass weight and a higher yield grade as well as a greater cross sectional area of the M. longissimus dorsi (LD). Holstein bulls showed a greater marbling score, darker color, and more water binding capacity of the LD. The Holstein bulls gained more subcutaneous, intramuscular, and visceral fat during growth, which reflects the ability of the Holstein as a dairy breed to deposit fat as an energy source for milk production and points out the capability of Charolais for extended protein accretion. The genetic background of the recorded different nutrient utilization and turnover will be investigated in further experiments.