Beef carcasses with larger eye muscle areas, lower ossification scores and improved nutrition have a lower incidence of dark cutting
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This study evaluated the effect of eye muscle area (EMA), ossification, carcass weight, marbling and rib fat depth on the incidence of dark cutting (pHu > 5.7) using routinely collected Meat Standards Australia (MSA) data. Data was obtained from 204,072 carcasses at a Western Australian processor between 2002 and 2008. Binomial data of pHu compliance was analysed using a logit model in a Bayesian framework. Increasing eye muscle area from 40 to 80 cm2, increased pHu compliance by around 14% (P < 0.001) in carcasses less than 350 kg. As carcass weight increased from 150 kg to 220 kg, compliance increased by 13% (P < 0.001) and younger cattle with lower ossification were also 7% more compliant (P < 0.001). As rib fat depth increased from 0 to 20 mm, pHu compliance increased by around 10% (P < 0.001) yet marbling had no effect on dark cutting. Increasing musculature and growth combined with good nutrition will minimise dark cutting beef in Australia.
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