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Abstract

Fattening strategies for young double-muscled Belgian Blue bulls. Performance, carcass and meat quality, metabolic approach and economic balance-sheet.

Abstract

This publication reports the results of 16 trials carried out with double-muscled Belgian Blue (BB) bulls, Holstein bulls and BBs of mixed type. Weight gains were similar in the 3 types of bull, but double-muscled bulls had a lower feed consumption than the other 2 genotypes, a higher dressing percentage and lean percentage of the carcass, and lower fat and bone percentages. The meat of double-muscled animals was less highly coloured that that of the other 2 groups, and had a lower moisture loss during cooking. It had a very low fat content, and its cholesterol content was intermediate to that of the other groups. Nitrogen retention was higher in the double-muscled bulls than in those of the other 2 groups. Growth hormone production was higher in double-muscled animals than in the other groups. Increasing the duration of fattening by restriction of feeding at some periods reduced profitability because of increased production costs directly associated with the longer fattening period. Adoption of a period of grass fattening prior to finishing intensively prolonged total fattening time compared with that for intensive rearing for the whole fattening period. Finishing on grass resulted in carcasses that were too light in weight and too lean.