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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Sire breed has a larger impact on sensory and technological meat quality than dam breed in beef-on-dairy heifers reared on forage and semi-natural grasslands

Drachmann, Fie F.; Olsson, Viktoria; Wallin, Karin; Jensen, Nicolai F. H.; Karlsson, Anders H.; Therkildsen, Margrethe


The aim of this study was to evaluate the meat quality of beef-on-dairy heifers from Holstein or Swedish Red-andWhite dams sired by Angus or Charolais bulls reared on forage and semi-natural grasslands. Production systems with moderately high and low feeding intensities were compared, where animals grazed for one or two summers and were slaughtered at 20 or 27 months of age, respectively. Meat quality of crossbred heifers from Holstein and Swedish Red-and-White dams was comparable in M. longissimus lumborum (LL) and differed in pH, yellowness and Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) in M. semimembranosus (SM) with Swedish Red-and-White being less tough. Compared with LL from Charolais crossbreeds, LL from Angus was redder and had lower WBSF, higher intramuscular fat concentration (IMF%), a more pronounced metallic flavour and a more pronounced umami taste. Meat quality of SM did not differ between Angus and Charolais crossbreeds. Generally, the production system with moderately high feeding intensity resulted in less tough beef that was lighter and less red and had higher IMF%. Consequently, beef from Charolais crossbreeds reared at a low feeding intensity exhibited the poorest meat quality with the lowest IMF% in LL (2.80 and 3.77 % for Holstein and Swedish Red-and-White, respectively). Nevertheless, crossbreeds did not differ in sensory meat quality. Generally, meat quality of beefon-dairy heifers reared on forage and semi-natural grasslands was high, and while Angus crossbreeds delivered high-quality beef from both feeding intensities, Charolais crossbreeds are better suited for the moderately high feeding intensity, when aiming for high meat quality.


Beef; Sensory quality; Meat quality; Semi -natural pasture; Intramuscular fat; Extensive management

Published in

Livestock Science
2024, Volume: 282, article number: 105453
Publisher: ELSEVIER