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Environmentally friendly beef production from two genotypes fed cereal/molasses diets

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The role of sugar beet molasses, a by-product of the food industry, for producing environmentally friendlier beef than with less fossil energy-intensive grain was assessed with respect to growth, carcass merit and feed efficiency. Cattle investigated included bulls and heifers of Holsteinxnative Brown of Atlas (HB) or HolsteinxFriesian (HF). Molasses included at 0, 20, 40 or 60% of total ration dry matter (DM) replaced barley in a typical grain-based diet. Cattle were individually fed ad libitum, from 180 to 420 kg and bulls were then slaughtered. Animals fed 0, 20, 40 or 60% molasses averaged 259, 257, 318 and 374 days on feed (P<0.001), grew 0.96, 0.96, 0.72 and 0.69 kg/day (P<0.0001), consumed 8.3, 8.9, 7.5 and 7.6 kg DM/day (P<0.01), required 9.0, 9.5, 10.6 and 11.8 kg DM/kg live weight gain (P<0.0001). Dressing percentage averaged 53.5% for cattle fed 0-40% molasses and was lower (P<0.01) for cattle fed 60% molasses (50.8%). Faster gaining animals deposited more fat. Animal measures including feet (8.63 vs. 9.37 kg), carcass compactness (1.79 vs. 1.85 kg/cm), kidney, pelvic and heart fat (4.15 vs. 2.57 kg) and mesenteric fat (5.04 vs. 3.96 kg), differed (P<0.05) for HB vs. HF, respectively. Whereas adding molasses above 20% somewhat decreased animal performance, this response was economically offset by the lower price of molasses. The economical optimum of molasses in the diet was 40%, whereas the positive environmental impact of reducing grain fossil energy needs improved through 60%. A feeding system based on 40% molasses in the diet, if applied to the approximately 100&unknown;000 cattle in Morocco annually fed for meat production would save 47% of the barley grain otherwise needed while also converting 84% of the Moroccan sugar industry molasses by-product annually produced, to meet the meat-sourced food protein needs of Moroccan consumers in an environmentally friendlier meat protein production system.
Araba, A. , Byers, F.M.
Includes references
Livestock production science Nov 1, 2002. v. 77 (2/3)
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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