Effect on upland beef production of incorporating winter feeding of red clover silage or summer grazing of Molinia-dominated semi-natural pastures

MD Fraser, DA Davies, IA Wright, JE Vale, GR Nute, KG Hallett, RI Richardson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Management systems for finishing beef cattle, designed to meet environmental goals in the Less Favoured Areas (LFAs) of the UK, often rely on the integration of grazing of semi-natural pastures with sown permanent pasture. In this experiment, three management options were compared: (i) permanent pasture for grazing and silage production (treatment PP), (ii) permanent pasture for grazing and silage and grazing of Molinia-dominant semi-natural pasture in summer from June to August inclusively (treatment PP + SNP) and (iii) permanent pasture for grazing and silage and red clover (RC) silage for 0.25 of the silage requirement in winter (treatment PP + RC). The performance of spring-born Welsh Black steers was measured from turnout in spring 2002 until finishing in summer 2003. During summer 2002, the liveweight gain of steers grazing the semi-natural pasture was significantly lower than that of steers grazing the permanent pasture. There was a trend for the liveweight gains of the steers on the PP + SNP treatment to be higher from housing in autumn 2002, and live weights on all treatments were similar at the start of the red clover-feeding phase. Steers offered red clover silage had a significantly higher liveweight gains than those offered grass silage, but there was only a trend for a higher live weight at the end of the winter-feeding period. During summer 2003, liveweight gains were again higher on the permanent pasture. Finishing system significantly affected the fatty-acid profile of the meat produced, but there was no difference in the colour of meat in relation to shelf-life. Lipid oxidation was less for the meat from steers on the PP + SNP treatment than on the PP treatment, which, in turn, was less than for meat from the steers on the PP + RC treatment, and was in inverse proportion to the vitamin E concentration in the loin muscle. There were no significant differences in sensory panel scores for texture, juiciness or flavour of the meat.
    Translated title of the contributionEffect on upland beef production of incorporating winter feeding of red clover silage or summer grazing of Molinia-dominated semi-natural pastures
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)284 - 300
    Number of pages17
    JournalGrass and Forage Science
    Volume62 (3)
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher: Blackwell

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