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Beta-agonists and cattle performance - A meta analysis

​This study is a meta-analysis of the effects of the beta-agonists zilpaterol hydrochloride (ZH) and ractopamine hydrochloride (RAC) on feedlot performance, carcase characteristics of cattle and Warner Bratzler shear force (WBSF) of muscles. It was conducted to evaluate the effect of the use of these agents on beef production and meat quality and to provide data that would be useful in considerations on the effect of these agents on meat in Meat Standards Australia evaluations.  We conducted a comprehensive literature search and study assessment. Data were extracted from more than 50 comparisons for both agents and analysed using meta-analysis and meta-regression. Both agents markedly increased weight gain, hot carcase weight and longissimus muscle area and increased the efficiency of gain:feed. These effects were particular large for ZH, however, fat thickness and kidney, pelvic and heart fat were decreased by ZH. Zilpaterol markedly increased WBSF by 1.2 standard deviations and more than 0.8 kg, while RAC increased WBSF by 0.43 standard deviations and 0.2 kg. This work has provided critically needed information on the effects of ZH and RAC on production, efficiency and meat quality.


Title Size Date published
2.5MB 07/10/2015


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
MSA Beef Pathways/R&D Support 2014/15
01/07/2014 30/06/2015

This page was last updated on 06/07/2018

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