Is meat from cull cows tougher?

Tharcilla I.R.C. Alvarenga, Mario Palendeng, Suresh Thennadil, Peter McGilchrist, Linda M. Cafe, Amelia K. Almeida, David L. Hopkins

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Meat from cull cows is traditionally sold in Australia for mincemeat, but this study examined whether there is potential to add value by identifying meat of higher quality from older cattle. Dentition and ossification score were recorded for 173 Angus cattle of known age, ranging from 26 months to 12.6 years. Longissimus and semitendinosus muscles were sampled to assess the effect of chronological age on shear force and connective tissue. Age explained variation in shear force of the semitendinosus better than in the longissimus muscle, but had little effect on shear force values per se. At 2 days postmortem, 18% of the longissimus muscles were classified as tender reaching 65% as ageing extended to 14 days. Soluble collagen was a better predictor of age than total collagen. This study shows that the current practice of routinely selling meat from culled cows as mincemeat overlooks a valuable opportunity to grade and sell a significant proportion at higher price as prime cuts.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number108498
    JournalMeat Science
    Early online date18 Mar 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


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