Best beef comes from cool cattle

Tests by Australia’s main science organizations show calm cattle outperform their hot-headed cousins in both tenderness of taste and lower production costs.
Selectively breeding beef herds from cool-headed cattle not only would increase producers’ profits but also produce better tasting beef, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization said.
CSIRS’s laboratory in Rockhampton, Queensland, in the heart of Australia’s cattle country, has been conducting tests over the past year since scientists discovered slower-moving cattle produced more tender beef than their quicker cousins.
Tests showed not only that cool-headed cattle produced tender beef, but they also increased profitability through a smoother production process.
Poor temperament lowers cattle profitability through increased production costs—for example, through gathering, maintaining cattle-handling facilities. and the increased risk of injury to the cattle and their handlers.
Poor temperament also leads to decreased productivity due to the relationship with growth rates, fertility, carcass, and meat quality.
Some 12,000 carcasses were evaluated using shear force machines. This involved collecting muscle samples at slaughter and mechanically measuring the amount of force necessary to break through the tissue.
About half the samples also were taste-tested in Sydney using consumers in sporting clubs, parent and citizen associations, and similar organizations. These tests linked tenderness with temperament.
Crush-score and flight-time cattle temperament tests are now being made commercially available to farmers. The first is a subjective assessment based on how much cattle struggle when confined in a cattle crush (squeeze).
The flight-time test is an electronic version of a stop watch. It measures the amount of time it takes for the animal to cover about two metres after it is released from a weighing crush.
The faster the animal, the poorer the temperament.
Quiet cows outperform their faster cousins not only in paddocks but also in feedlots, where CSIRO tests show flighty cattle tend to stand back at feeding time—failing put on as much weight as quieter breeds.
The study also indicated flighty cattle also produce less glycogen—a sugar that helps break down the muscle after slaughter.

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