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The effect of floor type on the performance, cleanliness, carcass characteristics and meat quality of dairy origin bulls

  • V. S. Murphy (a1) (a2), D. E. Lowe (a1), F. O. Lively (a1) and A. W. Gordon (a3)
Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of using different floor types to accommodate growing and finishing beef cattle on their performance, cleanliness, carcass characteristics and meat quality. In total, 80 dairy origin young bulls (mean initial live weight 224 kg (SD=28.4 kg)) were divided into 20 blocks with four animals each according to live weight. The total duration of the experimental period was 204 days. The first 101 days was defined as the growing period, with the remainder of the study defined as the finishing period. Cattle were randomly assigned within blocks to one of four floor type treatments, which included fully slatted flooring throughout the entire experimental period (CS); fully slatted flooring covered with rubber strips throughout the entire experimental period (RS); fully slatted flooring during the growing period and moved to a solid floor covered with straw bedding during the finishing period (CS-S) and fully slatted flooring during the growing period and moved to fully slatted flooring covered with rubber strips during the finishing period (CS-RS). Bulls were offered ad libitum grass silage supplemented with concentrates during the growing period. During the finishing period, bulls were offered concentrates supplemented with chopped barley straw. There was no significant effect of floor type on total dry matter intake (DMI), feed conversion ratio, daily live weight gain or back fat depth during the growing and finishing periods. Compared with bulls accommodated on CS, RS and CS-RS, bulls accommodated on CS-S had a significantly lower straw DMI (P<0.01). Although bulls accommodated on CS and CS-S were significantly dirtier compared with those accommodated on RS and CS-RS on days 50 (P<0.05) and 151 (P<0.01), there was no effect of floor type on the cleanliness of bulls at the end of the growing and finishing periods. There was also no significant effect of floor type on carcass characteristics or meat quality. However, bulls accommodated on CS-S had a tendency for less channel, cod and kidney fat (P=0.084) compared with those accommodated on CS, RS and CS-RS. Overall, floor type had no effect on the performance, cleanliness, carcass characteristics or meat quality of growing or finishing beef cattle.

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Corresponding author
E-mail: vthompson10@qub.ac.uk
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