Carcass characteristics of feedlot finished steers with partial dietary inclusion of sunflower silage
Intensive meat production systems represent an alternative that producers have found helpful to improve efficiency in the use of resources given the present high land cost. The aim of this experiment was to evaluate the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the carcass, as well as body components not part of the carcass of steers, finished in confinement and fed sunflower silage (Helianthus annus L.) replacing corn silage (Zea mays L.), at 0% (SGO), 33% (SG33) and 66% (SG66) levels, based on dry matter. The animals were slaughtered when subcutaneous fat thickness reached 3 to 6 mm, at a mean body weight of 419 kg and 24 mo of age. The dietary inclusion of sunflower silage did not affect qualitative meat characteristics. The SG66 diet resulted in a higher ratio of empty body weight/slaughter weight than SG33, but the latter gave a lower proportion of external body components and hide relative to the other treatments. Steers fed SG66 presented a higher relative weight of liver than that fed SG33 and relative weight of abomasum inferior to that of SG0 animals. The partial replacement of corn silage by sunflower silage did not influence sensory aspects of the meat, nevertheless, it lowered fat deposition and edible carcass parts. In conclusion, the dietary levels of sunflower silage tested altered growth rate of the liver, fat deposition attached to the digestive tract and abomasal development.