Growth and carcass characteristics of crossbred bulls (Belgian Blue × dairy) on different diets.
Twelve purebred Friesian (FR) and 10 crossbred Belgian Blue × Friesian (BB × FR) bulls were compared for growth and carcass composition on two diets: concentrates in Ciney (Testing Station) and maize silage in Gembloux (Experimental Station, Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques) and in Liège (Experimental Station, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Liège). The test period started at 7 months of age and ended at 12 months in Ciney and 13.5 months in Gembloux and Liège. Whatever the location, BB × FR bulls had a higher daily gain and killing-out percentage, were sold at higher price and had a better net return and leaner carcasses. Concentrates improved daily gain, feed conversion ratio and dressing percentage but feeding costs were increased and daily net income decreased. This diet resulted in a high degree of fatness in the carcasses of FR bulls. Belgian Blue × Meuse-Rhine-Yssel and Meuse-Rhine-Yssel were also compared in Ciney on concentrates, the benefit of this crossbreeding resting mainly in the improvement of the carcass.