Extension Number

ASL R1762


Meat Science and Product Quality

Publication Date



The effect on meat quality of integrating pasturing systems into cattle finishing programs was observed over a two-year period. Year one consisted of 84 fall born calves and 28 spring born calves and year two consisted of 116 fall born calves. The effect of using Rumensinâ for cattle on bromegrass pasture was incorporated into year one. In year two cattle on pasture received bromegrass pasture, and one treatment group received switchgrass during the warm season. In both years there was a control group of calves that went directly to the feedlot with the remaining calves going to pasture for varying periods of time before being finished in drylot. At the conclusion of the feeding trial, cattle were processed into beef, and a ribeye steak was removed from each carcass for sensory evaluation. In year one cattle that were on pasture the longest had the lowest (P<0.05) average quality grades. In year two this trend was reversed, and cattle placed directly into drylot had the lowest (P<0.05) average quality grades. In both years cattle carcasses in all treatments averaged yield grade 2. Warner Bratzler shear force values were not affected by treatments. Sensory panel evaluations indicated tenderness was unaffected by treatments, and in year two flavor and flavor intensity were unaffected by treatments. In year one flavor intensity was lowest (P<0.05) for steaks derived from cattle that were on pasture the longest and received Rumensinâ. Inclusion of Rumensinâ for cattle on pasture did not influence yield and quality grades or affect tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. Results of this study indicate that steer calves placed on cool and warm season pastures prior to being finished in drylot, can produce carcasses with acceptable yield and quality grades and that the meat eating qualities will be largely unaffected by the inclusion of pasture.

Copyright Owner

Iowa State University



File Format