Effect of breed and feeding strategy on the eating quality of Kenyan beef
In Kenya, most of the livestock are reared on grass using extensive pastoral systems. Nevertheless, intensive feed-lot systems to finish beef cattle have become popular among local producers. The two systems are likely to have a different impact on the eating quality of beef, because quality is determined by the combined effects of breed, nutrition and management. The effect of free-range and semi-feed lot feeding strategies on the eating quality of beef from Zebu and Sahiwal breeds was assessed. A 2 x 2 between subjects factorial design was used (two breeds fed using two feeding strategies). From each single breed and feeding strategy combination, seven cattle were selected after three months of feeding. The cattle were slaughtered and their rump steaks sampled. The samples were frozen for 24 h then thawed for 4 h prior to analysis. The steaks’ pH was measured after cooking. They were then subjected to Texture Profile Analysis (TPA), ‘Warner-Bratzler’ Shear (WBS) tests, and organoleptic evaluations. The pH did not differ significantly with feeding strategy or breed (P≥0.05). The result from TPA and WBS revealed that semi feed-lot Sahiwal beef was tender than free-range Sahiwal beef (P<0.05). On the other hand, there was no difference in tenderness between feed-lot and free-range Zebu beef (P≥0.05). An analysis between the breeds showed that feed-lot Sahiwal beef was tender than feed-lot Zebu beef (P<0.05), but there was no difference in tenderness between beef from free-range Sahiwal and free-range Zebu (P≥0.05). In the sensory analysis, there was a significant difference for each of the sensory parameters (P<0.05, each). Steaks from semi-feed lot Sahiwal were preferred to the other beef steaks. In conclusion, a semi-feed lot feeding strategy has the potential to improve the eating quality of beef from Sahiwal breed. Nevertheless, the improvement in the eating quality observed with Zebu breed, although not statistically significant, gives an opportunity for value chain actors to explore other management systems that can be combined with those assessed in this study to improve eating quality.
Keywords: Beef, rump steak, eating quality, Sahiwal, Zebu, feed lot, pastoral, Kenya
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