Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Effects of immunocastration on the performance and meat quality traits of feedlot-finished Bos indicus (Nellore) cattle

J. F. M. Gómez A , A. Saran Netto A , D. S. Antonelo A , J. Silva A , G. A. Sene A , H. B. Silva A , N. P. Dias A , P. R. Leme A and S. L. Silva A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Animal Science Department, College of Animal Science and Food Engineering, University of Sao Paulo, Duque de Caxias Norte 225, Pirassununga/SP, 13635-900, Brazil.

B Corresponding author. Email: sauloluz@usp.br

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN17102
Submitted: 22 February 2017  Accepted: 12 September 2017   Published online: 1 December 2017

Abstract

This study aimed to evaluate the effects of immunocastration on the performance, testosterone concentration, carcass traits and meat quality of feedlot-finished Nellore cattle. Fifty-eight males (430 ± 36 kg bodyweight; 24 months old) were separated into three groups in a randomised complete design: surgically castration (n = 15), immunocastrated (anti-gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Bopriva®) vaccine, n = 21) and non-castrated (n = 22). The animals were housed in individual pens and fed ad libitum for 90 days with a common diet comprising 70% concentrate and 30% roughage (corn silage). The non-castrated animals had a greater average daily gain, feed efficiency, hot carcass weight and carcass yield than the surgically castrated and immunocastrated animals (P < 0.05). Surgically castrated cattle grew faster and more efficiently than those castrated immunologically (P < 0.05). The surgically castrated and immunocastrated animals had higher colour values L*, a* and b* and cooking loss than non-castrated animals (P < 0.05). In conclusion, immunocastration decreased cattle performance compared with surgically castrated or non-castrated animals. However, immunocastration resulted in better meat quality compared with non-castrated, making it an alternative to surgical castration with no negative effects on animal welfare.

Additional keywords: animal production, beef cattle, carcass assessment, meat eating quality.


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