Brazil has the world’s largest commercial beef cattle herd, and despite the growing domestic market and the country’s increasing share in the world market, a carcass classification and meat quality grading systems are still incipient. Pasture-fed Bos indicus (mostly Nellore - a zebu breed) and an inappreciable number of their crosses with British and Continental breeds make up for nearly 70% of the nation’s herd. Slaughtered animals are older than 36 months, and this affects negatively carcass and meat quality. Therefore an increase in the use of Bos taurus sires and feedlot systems can rapidly decrease age at slaughter and improve meat quality. Differences in adipose tissue accretion and muscle development among genetic groups affect meat quality and retail yield. Large frame size animals begin adipose tissue accretion later than small frame size ones and therefore require longer feeding time to be slaughtered at the same finishing conditions (Owens et al., 1993).
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 11, , 11.38, 2002
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