The experiment evaluated the effect of nutrition levels and sex on the growth performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality of F1 Angus × Chinese Xiangxi yellow cattle.
During the background period of 184 d,23 steers and 24 heifers were fed the same ration,then put into a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement under two levels of - dietary energy (TDN: 70/80% DM), protein (CP: 11.9/14.3% DM) and sex (S: male/female) during the finishing phase of 146 d. The treatments were - (1) high energy/low protein (HELP), (2) high energy/high protein (HEHP), (3) low energy/low protein (LELP) and (4) low energy/high protein (LEHP). Each treatment used 6 steers and 6 heifers, except for HELP- 5 steers and 6 heifers.
Growth rate and final carcass weight were unaffected by dietary energy and protein levels or by sex. Compared with the LE diet group, the HE group had significantly lower dry matter intake (DMI, 6.76 vs. 7.48 kg DM/d), greater chest girth increments (46.1 vs. 36.8 cm), higher carcass fat (19.9 vs.16.3%) and intramuscular fat content (29.9 vs. 22.8% DM). The HE group also had improved yields of top and medium top grade commercial meat cuts (39.9 vs.36.5%). The dressing percentage was higher for the HP group than the LP group (53.4 vs. 54.9%). Steers had a greater length increment (9.0 vs. 8.3 cm), but lower carcass fat content (16.8 vs. 19.4%) than heifers. The meat quality traits (shear force value, drip loss, cooking loss and water holding capacity) were not affected by treatments or sex, averaging 3.14 kg, 2.5, 31.5 and 52.9%, respectively. The nutritive profiles (both fatty and amino acid composition) were not influenced by the energy or protein levels or by sex.
The dietary energy and protein levels and sex significantly influenced the carcass characteristics and chemical composition of meat but not thegrowth performance, meat quality traits and nutritive profiles.