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Rearing practices in each life period of beef heifers can be used to influence the carcass characteristics

Abstract : To improve their income, European cattle breeders have to produce cattle carcasses with the best score on the EUROP system. The objectives of this study were to identify the rearing practices applied on farms at each period of a heifer's life and to study the relationship between these practices and the carcass characteristics. Farm surveys (n = 45) were performed to assess the rearing practices. A factorial analysis of mixed data followed by a hierarchical clustering on principal components was performed for each life period. The clusters resulting from these typologies were related to the carcass characteristics (weight, conformation and fat scores). For the suckling period, the cluster characterised by a calving season in autumn, a short pasture period and systematic supplies of stored grass and concentrate in stall gave heavy carcasses with the highest conformation scores. For the growth period, the best cluster for producing favourable carcass characteristics was characterised by the longest pasture period, feeding the most stored grass and feeding a regular concentrate supply throughout the year. For the fattening period, the cluster characterised by the oldest age at the beginning of the period and at slaughter, slaughter in winter and autumn, a long pasture period and regular concentrate supply gave the heaviest carcasses with the highest conformation scores. This study highlights several rearing practices that could be used as a means to influence the carcass characteristics, and also the life periods at which animals are sensitive to changes in management practices to improve weight and conformation scores.
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Submitted on : Monday, May 25, 2020 - 8:52:55 PM
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Valérie Monteils, Cécile Sibra. Rearing practices in each life period of beef heifers can be used to influence the carcass characteristics. Italian Journal of Animal Science, Taylor & Francis, 2019, 18 (1), pp.734-745. ⟨10.1080/1828051X.2019.1569486⟩. ⟨hal-02586003⟩

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