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YIELD AND QUALITY OF HOLSTEIN BEEF

YIELD AND QUALITY OF HOLSTEIN BEEF,Daniel M. Schaefer

YIELD AND QUALITY OF HOLSTEIN BEEF   (Citations: 3)
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Beef derived from Holstein steers is a significant source of the U. S. beef supply. The nation's 9.1 million dairy cows in 2003 were 22% of the U. S. cow herd (NASS, 2005). Given the typical breed distribution of dairy cows, calving interval, full-term pregnancy rate, peri-natal calf death loss (NAHMS, 2002), gender distribution, dairy beef placement (80%) and survival to market (94%), it can be estimated that 2.35 million Holstein steers are marketed annually. This population constitutes about 8.0-8.5% of the 28 million head (Cattle-Fax, 2005) of U. S. finished steer and heifer harvest. This estimate exceeds the frequency (5.7%) of Holsteins observed in the 2000 National Beef Quality Audit (McKenna et al., 2002). Given the distinctive Holstein coat color pattern and lack of crossbreeding in the dairy industry, Holstein genetics may be the largest recognizable single-breed source of beef in the U. S. Dairy cattle breeders have selected for milk production and milk components, and not meat yield or quality traits, so the resulting finished Holstein steer population has the potential to be relatively homogeneous in meat yield and quality if management and other environmental sources of variation are minimized. The purpose of this review is to highlight research of the past 25 years that describes Holstein steer meat yield and quality. Beef derived from Holstein cows culled from the dairy herd is also a significant source of beef in the U. S., but this source will not be addressed here.
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