Dark cutting beef – managing cattle to reduce DCB

NSW DPI - Michael Beer - Meat & Livestock Australia

Type: Webpage
Knowledge level: Introductory

Farm Table says:

Easy to read the article on the causes of dark cutting in beef cattle and ways it can be reduced. I was surprised to learn all of the different ways dark cutting can be minimized.

This article looks at the relationship between management practices and dark cutting in beef cattle. It talks about glycogen loss and how stress affects cattle; and how specific management techniques on a farm can increase better carcass quality in the future.

Items covered in this article were:

• Glycogen loss

• Managing practices to reduce dark cutting

• Checklist to minimise dark cutting

Key points were as follows:

• Glycogen loss occurs when cattle become stressed, supplying a high energy nutritious diet will help stored levels of glycogen in cattle together with using low-stress stock handling techniques.

• Stress in cattle can by physical or psychological.

• Cattle being sent to slaughter should be able to graze high-quality pasture or given supplements several weeks beforehand.

• Tips for reducing dark cutting in your cattle:

  • Low-stress stock handling
  • Yard wean cattle
  • cull cattle with bad temperaments
  • muster cattle as close to transport as possible but allow short rest time
  • Remove sick or injured stock
  • Keep noise to a minimum
  • Don’t mix mobs of cattle together in the weeks leading to slaughter
  • don’t use electric prodders

• More tips can be found here.

Australia - NSW DPI - Michael Beer - Meat & Livestock Australia
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