Growth and carcass characteristics of male dairy calves on a yeast culture-supplemented diet
This experiment was carried out to study the effect of the inclusion of a yeast culture in the diet of feeder dairy calves on their growth and carcass characteristics. Thirty male Friesian calves were randomly allocated to two groups of 15 each (treatment and control). The calves were fed a total mixed ration for a period of 294 days and then slaughtered to obtain carcass measurements. The yeast culture was added to the diet of the treatment group at a level of 20 kg yeast culture/ton of feed. The addition of the yeast culture did not affect final weight, average gain or average daily gain, but reduced total and daily dry matter intakes. Feed conversion ratio was not affected by treatment. Yeast culture supplementation had no effect on fasting weight or cold carcass weight, dressing percentage nor on non-carcass components. Differences in back-fat thickness and in the weight and percentage of carcass cuts were not significant between treatments. Similarly, carcass characteristics and quality measures did not show any significant differences between treatments. In this experiment the inclusion of a yeast culture in the finishing off diet of dairy calves had no effect on their growth rate, feed conversion ratio, carcass characteristics or meat quality.
Keywords: Yeast, dairy calves, growth performance, carcass quality
South African Journal of Animal Science Vol. 38 (3) 2008: pp. 174-183