Steakholders get introduction to study looking at meat quality

Darrell Cole
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Steakholders get introduction to study looking at meat quality

NAPPAN  What makes a good steak?

Its a question a researcher with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is attempting to determine through a demonstration study that is looking at the quality of meat from Maritime steers from the field to retail cuts.

Through the Maritime Carcass Value Discovery Program, which is in the first of three years, John Duynisveld is tracking the food intake and care of 44 beef cattle from across the region that have been sent to the Nappan research centre.

As a researcher Im interested in knowing where the beef industry is at as far as carcass characteristics and what thats worth on a retail basis, said Duynisveld, who spoke to producers during a beef field day in Nappan on Saturday. We want to find out what areas need to be addressed when it comes to producing quality beef for consumers.

All the cattle are being fed the same diet right through to finishing and Duynisveld is using genetic testing to evaluate carcass characteristics including beef tenderness, marbling and rib eye size.

When the cattle are finished they are being sent to the Atlantic Beef Products plant in Borden, P.E.I., where they are slaughtered and the beef tested. Through a co-operative program with the beef plant, Duynisveld is receiving information on grading, the amount of bone, meat percentage and other things important to consumers.

Duynisveld feels the study will help producers know what genetics to look for in breeding and how to best finish their cattle. He hopes the study will help Maritime beef producers put a better product on store shelves.

He hopes the information provided will help educate producers on feedlot performance, carcass traits and value. It also should provide a benchmark for improving the genetic traits in the Maritime beef herd and improve the economic value of beef production to the farmer.

The information provided by this study should tell us a lot about how well our industry is doing at producing the cuts of beef consumers want, he said.

A similar study is its 12th year at Cornell University in Ithica, N.Y.

Beef researcher Mike Baker said his study has helped producers improve their health and management programs.

The carcass quality changes as they continue in the program because theyre getting data back they dont normally get, Baker said. In getting data back they are able to make changes theyve been told to make before but now they have concrete information to make those changes.

By improving meat quality, Baker said, farmers should see benefits in competitiveness and profitability. It also helps them decide which bulls and cows they should buy.

I measure the success on two things. First, were bringing new producers in all the time and when you look at the changes in the carcass quality over the three to five years theyre in the program were making improvements.

Organizations: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Atlantic Beef Products, Cornell University

Geographic location: Maritime, Borden, Ithica N.Y.

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