Effect of Forage Feeding Level on Performance, Meat Quality and Economic Costof Holstein Beef Calves Fed Organic Diet

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Animal Science, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran

2 National Animal Breeding Center and Promotion of Animal Product, Karaj, Iran

3 Department of Animal and PoultryScience, College of Abouraihan, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108, USA

5 Department of Animal Science, University of Urmia, Urmia, Iran


The aim of this study was to compare conventional and organic diets in beef production. Thirty-two dairy beef calves were used in 4 treatments: organic diet with three levels of forage [70% of organic diet with high amount of forage (ORH), 55% of organic diet with medium amount of forage (ORM), 38% of organic diet with low amount of forage(ORL)] and conventional diet (CON). The dry matter intake (DMI), average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion rate (FCR) of calves were measured. The calves were then slaughtered at the end of the study. DMI was significantly differed among groups after the 5th period. However, FCR and ADG were significantly differed among the treatments in several periods. Carcass physical size, lipid and cholesterol were lower in organic diets compared to the CON. Significant increases were observed in organic meat for C18:2, C18:3 fatty acids, heminic iron, α-tocopherol and ß-carotene. The results of the study showed that calves fedorganic diet with high amount of forage had significantly lower FCR compared to the other diets.


AOAC. (1990). Official Methods of Analysis. 15th Ed. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Arlington, VA, USA.
Braun-Blanquet J. (1964). Pflanzensoziologie, Grundzuge der Vegetationskunde.Springer, Verlag,Wien, New York.
Cozzi G., Brscic M.F., Ronch D., Boukha A., Tenti S. and Gottrado F. (2010). Comparison of two feeding finishing treatments on production and quality of organic beef. ItalianJ. Anim. Sci. 9, 404-409.
De-la-Vega F., Guzman J.L., Delgado-Pertinez M.L., Zarazaga A. and Arguello A. (2013). Fatty acid composition of muscle and internal fat depots of organic and conventional Payoya goat kids. Spanish J. Agric. Res. 11, 759-769.
Esterhuizen J., Groenewald I.B., Strydom P.E. and Hugo A. (2008). The performance and meat quality of Bonsmara steers raised in a feedlot, on conventional pastures or on organic pastures. South African J. Anim. Sci. 38, 303-314.
Fernandez M.I. and Woodward B.W. (1999). Comparison of conventional and organic beef production systems. Feedlot performance and production costs. Livest. Prod. Sci. 61, 213-223.
Littell R.C., Henry P.R. and Ammerman C.B. (1998). Statistical analysis of repeated measures data using SAS procedures. J. Anim. Sci. 76, 1216-1231.
Miotello S., Bondesan V., Tagliapietra F., Schiavon S. and Bailoni L. (2009). Meat quality of calves obtained from organic and conventional farming. Italian J. Anim. Sci. 8, 213-215.
Nielsen B.K. and Thamsborg S.M. (2005). Welfare, health and product quality in organic beef production: a Danish perspective. Livest. Prod. Sci. 94, 41-50.
NRC. (2000). Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle. 7th Ed. National Academy Science, Washington, DC. USA.
Rosmann R., Rosmann M., Beitz D., Sonon R.J., Trenkle A., Russell J. and Lawrence J. (2004). Feeding beef cattle to produce healthier and highly acceptable beef. Available at: www.ofrf.orgn.
Sami A.S., Augustini C. and Schwarz F.J. (2003). Effects of feeding intensity and time on feed on performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality of Simmental bulls. Meat Sci. 67, 195-201.
SAS Institute. (2004). SAS®/STAT Software, Release 9.1.3. SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC. USA.
Shongwe M.A., Jooste A., Hugo A., Alemu Z.A. and Pelser A. (2007). Will consumers pay for less fat on beef cuts? The case in Bloemfontein.South African Agrekon. 46, 475-493.
Sundrum A. (2001). Organic livestock farming: a critical review. Livest. Prod. Sci.67, 207-215.
Van Ryssen J.B.J. (2003). Organic meat and milk production: 2. achieving the objectives. South African J. Anim. Sci. 4, 7-13.
Walshe B.E., Sheehan E.M., Delahunty C.M., Morrissey P.A. and Kerry J.P. (2006). Composition, sensory and shelf stability analyses of longissimus dorsi muscle from steers reared under organic and conventional production systems. Meat Sci. 73, 319-325.