What are the main principles of gender differentiation and finishing systems?
Accurate comparisons cannot be made between a group of bulls, steers, and heifers because as McGee states they are generally reared under different production systems which includes different levels of feeding, different lifetime ratios or grazing too indoor feeding and are generally different ages and weights at slaughter. The general effects of ‘gender’ are puzzled with the differing production system factors, however, it is known that growth rate and feed conversion efficiency (FCE) is higher in a bull than compared to steers and heifers.
Venkata-Reddy, et al. suggests that the major influences for carcass characteristics and the fatty acid profile of the animal is largely dependant on genetic groups, feeding systems and gender with studies showing that heifer beef identifies as having superior characteristics in relation to eating quality and a better balance of fatty acids than compared to bulls and steers.
With finishing heifers, they are well suited for being finished on a forage based diet or have the potential to be finished off of grass. The ration available can be similar to that fed to steers however a shorter feeding period may be availed of because of the higher rate of fat deposition compared to steers.