Evaluation of Organic Beef Cattle

Abstract: The objective of this study was to analyse how beef-cattle farming in NW Spain on organic farms compares with intensive and conventional systems in terms of impacts on the safety and quality of cattle products. Data on the hygiene and quality of 244, 2596 and 3021 carcasses of calves from organic, intensive and conventional farms, respectively, were collected at the slaughterhouse. Organic calves generally had fewer condemnations for liver, kidney and heart pathologies. Liver parasitic infections were 2 fold higher in organic calves than those from other types of farm. Farm processes and resultant food product quality are linked through the health of the animal and its disease status. Overall better health status was not reflected by carcass performance as this was significantly lower for organic calves than for calves from conventional and intensive farms. Carcass performance seemed to be more determined by dietary component than by health status in the animals in our study.

Reference: Blanco-Penedo, I.; Lopez-Alonso, M.; Shore, R. F.; Miranda, M.; Castillo, C.; Hernandez, J.; Benedito, J. L. (2009). Evaluation of food safety and quality in organic beef cattle in NW Spain; a comparison with intensive and conventional systems. Agronomy Research 7(2) Special Issue: 585-591.