Effects of Hay, Baleage, and Soybean Hulls Waste Used as Supplemental Feeds on the Nutritional Profile of Grass-Finished Beef

Foods. 2022 Nov 29;11(23):3856. doi: 10.3390/foods11233856.


Grass-finished beef (GFB) has demonstrated wide nutritional variations with some GFB having a considerably higher n-6:n-3 ratio compared to grain-finished beef. To better understand these variations, the current study investigated the effects of commonly used supplemental feeds on the nutritional profile of GFB. This two-year study involved 117 steers randomly allocated to one of four diets: (1) grass+hay (G-HAY), (2) grass+baleage (G-BLG), (3) grass+soybean hulls (G-SH), and (4) baleage+soybean hulls in feedlot (BLG-SH). Feed samples were analyzed for their nutritional value, and beef samples underwent analysis for fatty acids (FAs), vitamin E, minerals, lipid oxidation, and shear force. FAs were measured by GC-MS, vitamin E was analyzed chromatographically, minerals were analyzed by ICP-MS, and lipid oxidation was measured via a thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay. G-SH beef had the highest n-6:n-3 ratio (p < 0.001), while BLG-SH beef contained less vitamin E (p < 0.001) and higher TBARS values (p < 0.001) compared to the other groups. G-HAY beef contained more long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated FAs compared to the other groups (p < 0.001). In conclusion, G-HAY beef had the most beneficial nutritional profile, while soybean hulls increased the n-6:n-3 ratio of beef.

Keywords: cattle feed; conserved forages; fatty acids; grassland; meat quality; minerals; pasture; sustainability.