Improving fat colour

If your beef production system is based on pasture feeding then a better understanding of the carotene content of pasture species will assist. Legume species (white clover, lucerne) and temperate grasses (fescue, perennial ryegrass) are relatively high in carotene. Levels vary at stage of plant maturity and typically rise just before the flowering stage and lowest at early and late stages.

Fodder conservation as hay or silage can reduce the carotene levels through the process of curing.

In practice management options could include:

  • feed cattle low carotene diets
  • grain supplementation or feeding a grain based diet for a period of 4-6 weeks
  • balance vitamin A and protein in the ration/diet, particularly in periods of physiological stress eg. heat
  • turn-off heifers at a younger age and prior to calving