Acciaro, Marco (2013) Role of pasture in the growth, intake and meat quality of Sardinian cattle breeds. Doctoral Thesis.
Cattle meat production in Sardinia is based mainly on suckler-cows system. Such system, based on the selling of calves to the fatness centers and characterized by a limited use of resources out of farm suffered a severe crisis by the introduction of bluetongue emergencies in Sardinia, which determined restrictive measures for animal movements. Hence the farms have been forced to fatten calves, changing the production system and increasing the costs. The use of pasture in the fattening of animals could reduce feeding costs and improve the nutritional composition of meat. For that reason 3 studies were carried out, in order to evaluate if grazing can represent a chance for Sardinian beef system,. The main results were: Pasture-fed animals showed daily live gain and dressing percentage similar to other breeds, more specialized than Sardinian breeds for meat production, obtained in similar conditions. Sardinian cattle showed an high capacity in exploiting the Mediterranean pastures, thanks to its selective grazing. Pasture-fed animals have shown specific characteristics of meat as an higher content of n-3 PUFA, beneficial for the human health; that improves both nutritional characteristics and consumer perception of the meat produced by Sardinian young bulls. Overall, fattening of Sardinian bulls based on pasture, with certain levels of supplementation, is a system that can allow to obtain high quality meat with lower costs.
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