Factors influencing conformation and fatness of bovine carcasses in Italy and France

This study aimed to analyze the differences in conformation and fatness of Charolais and Limousine carcasses using the characteristics of 3869 carcasses from males (young cattle) or females (heifers) from two databases, from Italy and France. Italian carcasses were obtained in particular from young animals reared for 7 months in France, and slaughtered in Italy. Analyzes confirmed that there were very large differences in carcass conformation and fatness between genders, breeds and countries. In fact, females are predisposed to develop their adipose tissue more than males and are also less conformed. In general, for the same animal type, the conformation is better, but fatness is lower for the Limousine breed than for the Charolais breed. The characteristics of carcasses are also strongly dependent on the farming system, which is rather intensive in Italy and extensive in France. Indeed, for a given breed, the carcasses are better shaped and leaner for young cattle slaughtered in Italy compared to those slaughtered in France. These results are confirmed at the national level by analyzing all the data on the characteristics of the carcasses of young cattle and heifers slaughtered in France or Italy. The differences in carcass characteristics can therefore be explained by different factors: farming systems, feeding, age or breed of animals.