Past Project

Impact of Stress on Tenderness in Red Branded Carcasses

Executive Summary

This project will examine how beef tenderness can be affected by stress in red branded carcasses.  While tenderness can be compromised in B4 carcasses (dark cutters) due to chronic stress, beef tenderness can also be affected by acute stress in cattle that go on to produce red branded carcasses.  Since tenderness is the primary eating quality trait which influences consumers, the beef industry needs to focus on ensuring cattle are not stressed before slaughter to help ensure satisfactory eating experience for consumers and increase beef demand.  Producers who deliver lots with a high incidence of dark cutters are penalized if the cattle are marketed on a rail grade basis and may also be penalized when marketing on a live basis depending on the sophistication of the data base held by the buyer or packing plant.  If acute stress is an issue for a given producer’s cattle, what is the cause and could it be impacting cattle growth performance and cost of production?  There may be a significant financial impact for feedlot producers if the causative factors can be identified.  This project will seek to answer these questions.  

Expected Completion:   2015

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