Large Animal Review, vol.26, no.4, pp.161-165, 2020 (SCI-Expanded)
Fattening performance is one of the most important traits in cattle breeding. These traits are closely associated with adequate initial weights and slaughter endpoints. In this context, the aim of this study was to investigate optimum initial fattening age of imported Simmental young bulls and to provide a detailed analysis of initial fattening age effects on fattening performance and carcass characteristics. Seventy five animals were purchased from a single commercial farm where they had been reared under identical production conditions and were allocated into four groups according to age and live-weight as follows: Group I (4 months of age), Group II (6 months of age), Group III (8 months of age), and Group IV (10 months of age). All animals were housed in semi-open pens and were fed ad libitum with the same appropriate diet for 12 months. The animals were slaughtered in a commercial abattoir according to standard routines and carcass traits including hot and chilled carcass weights, dressing percentage, and chiling loss were determined. Moreover, performance traits including total weight gain, feed conversion rate, average daily weight gain, and dry matter intake were estimated. Results revealed that the initial fattening age of bulls showed significant effects on total weight gain and chilled carcass dressing. In this context, Group I was characterized by the highest total weight gain, whereas, Group IV had the highest values for chilled carcass dressing. During early fattening periods, first three periods, average daily weight gain was significantly different among the treatments. This study pointed out that, concerning importation, younger Simmentals with the initial fattening age of four months may be more suitable and profitable for medium-term fattening. The present results may have a potential to influence adequate management practices in Simmental farms, and moreover, the recent strategies for importation of cattle.