Meat science

On farm factors increasing dark cutting in pasture finished beef cattle.

PMID 29937311


The on-farm factors increasing the incidence of dark cutting were studied in 3145 pasture raised cattle consigned in 66 lots. Animal, environmental and farm management factors were recorded and pasture quantity, quality and mycotoxin concentrations were measured. The relative risk of dark cutting decreased by 26% in cattle grazing pastures with magnesium concentrations exceeding 0.24%. There was a 50% increase in relative dark cutting risk of cattle drinking from dams compared to drinking from troughs. Feeding supplements (hay/silage) in the last 7 days prior to slaughter reduced the relative risk of dark cutting by 25%. A high prevalence of mycotoxins was detected in pastures across all farms. In this case pasture ergot alkaloid concentrations above 600PPB increased the relative risk of dark cutting by 45%, while the presence of FumonisinB1 increased risk by 58%. In contrast the presence of 3acetyldeoxynivalenol reduced the relative dark cutting risk by 37%. Sex also affected the incidence of dark cutting, with heifers less likely to cut dark than steers by 47%.