Is There A Favourable Relationship Between Carcase Yield And Tenderness?

Meat quality and meat yield goals can both be achieved if included in a value-based marketing system for beef carcase evaluation, says experts from the Scottish Agricultural College.
calendar icon 15 November 2010
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Significant favourable correlations have been found between carcass yield and tenderness, indicating no antagonism between these traits. And significant associations were also found between carcass characteristics and colour, suggesting that the redness and yellowness of the meat colour increases with carcass weight.

Just some of the exciting findings of trials, carried out in Scotland and New Zealand, which set out to establish whether both carcass yield and meat quality goals can be achieved in a value-based marketing system that rewards producers on both meat yield and meat quality parameters.

“We also found that breed influenced meat colour but sex had no detectible effect,” the Scottish Agricultural College’s Cameron Craigie, who led the team of scientists, told delegates at this year’s British Society of Animal Science’s annual conference, held at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Objective measures of beef carcass quality appear to resolve some of the issues surrounding the subjective aspect of beef carcass classification. Carcass conformation is important to the producer and processor, whereas meat colour and tenderness are important to the consumer.

“Yet eating quality is not part of the current grading system. So, in this study, the relationships between carcass yield traits in commercial cattle and objective measures of meat quality were analysed considering both Video Image Analysis (VIA) predicted and recorded weights of primals,” said Mr Craigie, explaining the rationale behind the trials.

Animals were selected based on breed and sex in an abattoir where a commercial VIA machine was operating on-line. On the Monday of each week, eight Charolais-cross, eight Limousin-cross and eight dairy-cross animals were selected for the study.

For each breed group, four steers and four heifers were selected per week except for the dairy-cross group where young bulls were substituted for heifers. During a 10-week period, six classes of animals and samples were obtained in 10 batches for the VIA predicted traits, while actual recorded primal weights were recorded on the first six batches only.

Age at slaughter, together with VIA based grades based on the 15-point scales and weights and yield estimations for weight from the right-hand half of the carcass were recorded and sirloin was sampled and tested.

“And after analysis, we found a small but significant negative correlation observed between slice shear force and VIA predicted striploin weight, as well as VIA conformation and measured tenderloin weight were favourable because a lower slice-shear-force value indicates greater tenderness,” said Mr Craigie.

“Young bulls were significantly less tender than steers and heifers, but no significant differences in tenderness were observed among breeds,” he added.

Positive correlations were shown between lightness, redness and yellowness and measured sirloin weights. No differences in colour traits were observed between the sexes, but Charolais sirloin steak was lighter and more yellow than Limousin and redder than dairy cross.

Presented to the British Society of Animal Science Annual Conference, April 12 -14, 2010, Queen’s University, Belfast.

Craigie C, Ross D, Maltin C, Purchas R, Morris S and Roehe R: “The relationship between beef quality and carcass quality attributes measured under commercial conditions.”

November 2010
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