The study was conducted to assess the effect of roughage source on meat quality and sensory attributes of yearling Tswana cattle. The sensory traits and meat quality of yearling Tswana steers fed maize stover diet (treatment A), sorghum stover diet (treatment B) or commercial beef finisher diet (treatment Control) were evaluated and allotted feeding trial by adopting Completely Randomized Design (CRD). The commercial diet had Lucerne (Medicago sativa) as a roughage source at inclusion level of 15% in total diet dry matter. Animals were slaughtered after 24 hour fast at Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) at Lobatse and samples were collected by cutting approximately 5 kg rump steak of the left side of halved carcasses. Trained individuals were used in sensory consumer evaluation to assess flavor, tenderness, moistness, appearance and overall impression of meat using eight point hedonic scales. No significant difference between the treatment groups for meat colour attribute was found. However, the colour values are slightly lower for the treatments indicating paler colour of the meat. There was also no significant difference among treatments in tenderness (P > 0.05) although treatments A and B almost significantly differed (P = 0.067). The proximate parameters crude protein, moisture and total fat were similar in all treatments (P > 0.05). There was statistically significant difference for muscle pH between sorghum stover diet (5.5) and commercial beef finisher diet (5.0) at P < 0.05. The pH values of meat from maize stover diet and sorghum stover diet were within the normal pH range of 5.4-5.8 which is an indication of good quality product. The sensory evaluation of rump steaks from yearling Tswana steers showed that 86% of the panelists rated meat steaks highest on overall impression from maize stover diet finished animals followed by 79% rankings from sorghum stover diet finished animals while steak cuts from commercial diet were the least ranked from like moderately to like extremely. It was concluded that meat products from cereal stover diets had good meat qualities and overall acceptability as compared to commercial beef finisher diet.
Key words: Commercial beef finisher, maize stover diet, meat quality, sensory attributes, sorghum stover diet, yearling Tswana bulls.
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