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Research article2011Peer reviewed

Alternative production systems for male Charolais cross-bred cattle using semi-natural grasslands

Hessle, Anna; Dahlström, Frida; Wallin, Karin


The aim was to compare animal performance and carcass characteristics in Charolais cross-breds raised as bulls finished indoors to steers grazing semi-natural grasslands during summers combined with high, medium or low feed intensity during indoor periods. Bulls (n = 15) and high steers (n = 13) were fed grass-clover silage: barley (450:550 g kg(-1) dry matter), medium steers (n = 13) silage ad libitum and low steers (n = 12) silage at a restricted intake. High and medium steers grazed semi-natural grasslands one summer, whereas low steers grazed two summers. From weaning to slaughter, liveweight gains were 1.72, 0.93, 0.72 and 0.60 kg day(-1) for bulls, high steers, medium steers and low steers, respectively (P < 0.05). Bull carcasses had higher dressings, conformation scores and proportions of high-valued retail cuts than steers (P < 0.001). High and medium steers had highest fatness scores (P < 0.02) and most trim fat (P < 0.03), whereas medium and low steers had more marbling in musculus longissimus dorsi than bulls (P < 0.03).


Animal performance; carcass characteristics; feed intensity; grazing; nature conservation; semi-natural pasture; steer

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science
2011, Volume: 61, number: 1, pages: 21-33