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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Meat Science

Effect of nursing-calf implant timing on growth performance and carcass characteristics1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 95 No. 12, p. 5388-5396
    Received: Apr 12, 2017
    Accepted: Oct 13, 2017
    Published: November 30, 2017

    3 Corresponding author(s):

  1. M. J. Webb*,
  2. A. A. Harty*,
  3. R. R. Salverson*,
  4. J. J. Kincheloe*,
  5. S. M. S. Zuelly*22,
  6. K. R. Underwood*,
  7. M. K. Luebbe,
  8. K. C. Olson* and
  9. A. D. Blair 3*
  1. * Department of Animal Science, South Dakota State University, Brookings 57007
     Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Scottsbluff 69361


The objective of this study was to compare pre- and postweaning growth performance, carcass characteristics, and meat quality attributes of calves that did not receive an implant or were implanted early or late in the nursing period. Crossbred steer calves (n = 135) were stratified by birth date and birth weight and randomly assigned to the following implant treatments: control (CON; no preweaning implant), 58 d (EARLY; 36 mg zeranol, administered at an average of 58 ± 13 d of age), and 121 d (LATE; 36 mg zeranol, administered at an average 121 ± 13 d of age). After weaning, steers were blocked by initial feed yard BW to 15 pens (5 pens/treatment and 9 steers/pen). All steers were implanted on d 21 after arrival at the feed yard and again on d 108 of finishing. Steer BW and ultrasound assessment of rib eye area (uREA), rib fat thickness (uRFT), and percent intramuscular fat (uIMF) were collected when implants were administered, at weaning, and on harvest day. Carcass measurements included HCW, rib eye area (REA), 12th-rib fat thickness (FT), and marbling score. Objective color (L*, a*, and b*) was recorded, and a 3.8-cm strip loin section was removed from both sides of each carcass and portioned into 2.54-cm steaks that were aged for 3 or 14 d for analysis of cook loss and Warner–Bratzler shear force (WBSF). The remaining portion of each sample was used for analysis of moisture and crude fat. Steer BW, ADG, and G:F did not differ among treatments (P > 0.05). Steers implanted in the EARLY treatment had a greater (P < 0.05) cumulative DMI than CON but were not different from steers implanted in the LATE treatment. Ultrasound REA and uRFT (averaged across all collection days) did not differ (P > 0.05); however, steers on the CON treatment had a greater (P ≤ 0.05) percent uIMF than EARLY implanted steers, whereas steers receiving the LATE implant were intermediate and not different from the other treatments. Hot carcass weight, REA, FT, USDA yield grade, marbling score, and objective color did not differ (P > 0.05) among treatments. The proportion of steers in each USDA yield and quality grade was similar (P > 0.05) among treatments, and no differences were detected for total carcass value or price per 45.4 kg (hundredweight; P > 0.05). Treatment did not influence (P > 0.05) percent cook loss, crude fat, moisture, or WBSF. In conclusion, administering a nursing implant, regardless of timing, did not influence live performance, carcass characteristics, or meat quality of steers fed in this study.

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