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Healthiness and quality of beef produced from traditional and modern breeds reared in species-rich, unimproved grasslands - LS3523

Description
The purpose is to identify the role of unimproved biodiverse pastures and traditional breeds in achieving high levels of healthiness and quality in beef. Comparisons will be made with improved pasture and intensive (concentrate) feeding and modern commercial breeds. Beef tissue components likely to be influenced by plant species, sward characteristics and extremes of animal genotype are n-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid and vitamin E. These collectively influence beef healthiness, shelf life and flavour. Estimates of the health status of the cattle in the different breed x system groups will also be determined during the growth period and related to the antioxidant status of the swards and the resulting meat tissues. The eating quality of beef will be assessed by trained taste panels, by a consumer panel and by customers purchasing beef from specialist traditional butchers. The overall aim is to develop an objective basis for branding the advantages of beef produced from traditional breeds on biodiverse grassland. The research proposal is in support of DEFRAs objectives to protect the grassland environment, especially in less favoured areas and to preserve the biodiversity of plants and pastures. It also provides a basis for economic sustainability for beef producers through developing a specialist market for healthy, high quality meat.
Objective
1. Measure meat quality (fatty acid composition and eating quality) in commercial steers reared on biodiverse unimproved pasture or on species-poor improved pasture.

2. Measure welfare, behaviour and health status of growing beef steers and meat quality (fatty acid composition and eating quality) of traditional and modern commercial breeds reared on biodiverse unimproved pasture or on species-poor improved pasture.

3. Determine variability in meat quality and composition of traditional breed steers reared on unimproved grazing.

4. Determine effects of grazing species-poor improved pasture vs indoor concentrate-feeding on meat fatty acids, vitamin E, shelf life (colour and lipid oxidation) and eating quality in traditional and modern commercial breeds.

5. Determine eating quality in traditional and modern cattle breeds following the same processing procedures.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Healthiness and quality of beef produced from traditional and modern breeds reared on species-rich, unimproved grasslands   (451k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2008

Cost: £894,478
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Bristol
Keywords
Biodiversity              
Cattle              
Farming              
Healthy Eating              
Hill Farming              
Landscape              
Livestock Farming              
Meat Quality              
Natural Resource Use              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Fields of Study
Livestock