Carcass quality of 10 beef cattle breeds of the Southwest of Europe in their typical production systems

Jesús Piedrafita, Raquel Quintanilla, Carlos Sañudo, José Luis Olleta, María Mar Campo, Begoña Panea, Gilles Renand, Françoise Turin, Sylvie Jabet, Koldo Osoro, María Carmen Oliván, Gerardo Noval, Pepa García, María Dolores García, María Angels Oliver, Marina Gispert, Xavier Serra, Manuel Espejo, Susana García, Montaña LópezMercedes Izquierdo

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83 Citations (Scopus)


A sample of about 70 young bulls of each of 10 beef cattle breeds from France and Spain, reared in their typical production systems, was studied regarding growth and carcass quality traits. There were large differences between and within breed-systems. The animals slaughtered in Spain weighed between 444 and 551 kg, whereas the range in France was from 610 to 750 kg. Growth showed a linear tendency; the daily weight gain ranging from 1.03 to 1.65 kg/day. Asturiana de los Valles and Pirenaica were, among the Spanish populations, the breed-systems with more muscle (around 75%) and less fat (8-10%) in the carcass, whereas Avileña-Negra Ibérica, Morucha and Retinta showed opposite characteristics (60-65% muscle and 17-19% total fat at the 6th rib). Brtma dels Pirineus and Asturiana de la Montaña occupied an intermediate position. All of the French breed-systems, Aubrac, Gasconne and Salers surpassed 73% muscle, while the percentage of total fat ranged from 7.6 to 10%. Salers breed-system also showed the longest and thinnest hind-limb. In the wide range of carcass weights studied in this paper, the general relationships among carcass traits were confirmed. Animals with the better conformation were also leaner. Longer carcasses tended to be associated with poor conformation and fatness. Bone content was clearly opposed to carcass conformation and muscle content. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalLivestock Production Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • Beef cattle
  • Breed-system
  • Carcass composition
  • Carcass morphology
  • Phenotypic relationships


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