Source: UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA submitted to
FEED AND FORAGE TO OPTIMIZE REINDEER PRODUCTION AND MEAT QUALITY
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0199629
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
ALK-04-07
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
May 1, 2004
Project End Date
Apr 30, 2010
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Finstad, G. L.
Recipient Organization
UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA
(N/A)
FAIRBANKS,AK 99775
Performing Department
High Latitude Agriculture
Non Technical Summary
A reindeer operation must be able to turn out a high quality product at a reasonable production cost. In turn, this may enhance existing agricultural production systems and open new areas to agricultural development and increase the economic base of the State of Alaska. This project aims to generate knowledge that may further reduce feeding costs by investigating the use and cost-effectiveness of feed and pasture combinations without compromising meat quality.
Animal Health Component
100%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
3023999101060%
3073999101020%
5023999101020%
Goals / Objectives
The proposed objectives for this project include: 1) Determine daily consumption rate of a concentrate fed to reindeer under three feeding regimes: milled ration exclusively, milled ration/bromegrass pasture and milled ration/Kentucky bluegrass pasture. 2) Develop cost/benefit(animal production) ratio for each feeding/pasture regime. 3) Determine body weight gain and antler production of reindeer fed under three feeding regimes. 4) Determine characteristics of meat produced from reindeer fed under three feeding regimes.
Project Methods
This project will be conducted at the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (AFES) located in Fairbanks with reindeer from the Reindeer Research Program Herd. Two adjacent 100m x 100m pens will be constructed and planted with Smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis), and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), respectively (treatments). The pastures will be fertilized and treated with a herbicide to ensure establishment of a uniform sward. A third 100m x 100m pen will act as the control and be tilled, underlain with Typar and covered with gravel to prohibit vegetative growth. The pastures will be developed during the first year of the project 30 male reindeer calves will be castrated at six months of age. The feeding trials will begin the following year when the reindeer are 14 months of age to coincide with the typical slaughtering age at 16-24 months. Ten yearling steers will be randomly allocated to each of the three pens. The animals will be placed in the pastures during the second week in June to allow sufficient vegetation growth to avoid overgrazing and killing of pasture grasses. The reindeer will be fed an 18% CP reindeer ration in covered bunks according to standard Reindeer Research Program (RRP) formulations and protocols (Finstad et al., 2003). The supplementary protein source in the ration (3%) will be provided by fishmeal. The fishmeal is processed fish waste from the Bering Sea groundfish (mainly Pollock) fishery. All reindeer will be fed daily between 10 am and 12 pm at a rate that will be adjusted to leave 5-10 percent orts. Fresh feed will be given and weighed to the nearest 0.25 kg. To measure intake rates on a dry matter basis 10 random feed samples will be taken from each batch of diet and dried for 48 hrs at 60O C to determine dry matter correction values. All orts removed from the feed bunks will be weighed and 5 samples of weigh-backs (orts) will be collected and dried for 48 hrs at 60O C for dry matter correction values.In year three, a second trial will be run using the milled ration/pasture regime (bromegrass or Kentucky bluegrass) producing the highest rate of gain in the experimental animals. Male reindeer from the 2005 cohort will be castrated and fed as previous study animals. The 100m x 100m pasture and control pen will be equally subdivided and study animals randomly allocated between the four pens. One control and one treatment group will be fed the standard 18% CP diet using fishmeal as the supplementary protein source in the ration. The other two groups will be fed a ration using soybean meal as the supplementary protein source. The steers will be loaded into and transported by stock trailer to Delta Meat and Sausage in Delta Junction, Alaska where they will be unloaded and slaughtered according to USDA regulations. The velvet antler will be removed from the carcass (directly above the pedicle) and weighed to determine antler production. Transportation time from AFES in Fairbanks to the slaughtering facility will be approximately two hours. Animals will be transported to the slaughtering facility in two allotments because both the stock trailer and slaughtering facility have a fifteen animal capacity.

Progress 05/01/04 to 04/30/10

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis), (SBG) produced more annual biomass (562.7 g/sq.m) than Nugget blue grass (Poa pratensis), (322.1 g/sq.m), (NBG). NBG had a better nutritional profile with higher crude protein (17.2% compared to 15.3%), higher mineral concentrations, and lower fiber concentrations (40.8% compared to 47.6% neutral detergent fiber) than SBG. Reindeer steers reduced intake of concentrate by 35% on both pasture grasses, but steers on NBG gained 24% more weight than steers on SBG. Crude protein and minerals in SBG decline through the season and are less than found in NBG, but animal off-take is greater for SBG possibly to compensate for the lower nutrient concentrations. Females and calves reduced intake of concentrate by 20% on SBG pasture and 16% on NBG pasture. Cow-calf groups gained significantly more weight (35.0 kg/cow-calf unit) on NBG pasture than pairs on SBG pasture (33.0 kg/cow-calf unit) or the control diet (32.5 kg/cow-calf unit). There was no difference in milk composition among all groups at the start of the trial, but females run on NBG pasture progressively produced milk with higher crude protein (10.7%) than either animals on SBG pasture (9.4%) or control animals (9.6%). Females run on NBG pasture produced milk with significantly lower lipid concentrations (15.0%) than those on SBG pasture (19.3%) or control animals (18.5%). A trained sensory panel could not find any differences in attributes of the meat; smell intensity, tenderness, juiciness, game flavor, blood flavor and sweet flavor meat among reindeer fed only a concentrate or pasture supplemented animals. Meat from concentrate fed animals had lower ultimate pH values and higher drip loss in samples stored for 3 weeks at +2 degreesC compared with meat from the SBG and NBG treatment groups. Mean dry matter intake (DMI) of animals fed a milled ration using chopped SBG haylage as a component (20.9g concentrate/kg body weight) was not significantly different than the control group (20.8g concentrate/kg body weight). Control animals had a significantly higher DMI of haylage when it was fed on the side than treatment animals suggesting previous exposure to SBG haylage decreased palatability. Animals fed a milled ration supplemented with fish bone meal diet had numerically greater intake rates, greater weight gain, greater antler base circumference, and antler beam length than non-supplemented animals; however the differences were not statistically significant. PARTICIPANTS: Greg Finstad served as Principal Investigator (PI). Finstad was responsible for developing research theme, specific hypotheses, experimental design and general oversight of the project He administered the budget and was the main liaison between members of the research team. Finstad oversaw construction of fences and establishment of the pastures. He provided oversight of all care and feeding of study animals, collection and analysis of all feed intake and animal growth data. Peter Bechtel, was a collaborator with the project and provided oversight of the proximate analysis of feed samples. Bechtel is with the Agricultural Research Service. Eva Wiklund was a collaborator with the project and provided oversight of the sensory panel evaluation and nutritional analysis of reindeer meat. George Aguiar was the technician responsible feeding and health care of the animals and for the collection and processing of all forage and milk samples. Aguiar primary responsibility for collection and collation of all project data and worked with data manager to organize and archive all data in a database. Suzanne Worker provided assistance with the collection of pasture samples and conducted all the forage analysis for the project. Darrell Blodgett managed and archived all data for the project. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences include producers and consumers in Alaska and nationally. Results of the project were presented orally in conjunction with a written report at the annual Reindeer Herders Association meeting consisting of Alaskan Native reindeer producers. Results from this project were presented at the national Reindeer Owners and Breeders Association meeting. Members are made up of reindeer producers across the contiguous 48 states. The results were presented at scientific conferences and meetings. The sensory and nutritional qualities of reindeer meet were released to the public through presentation at a state food symposium and through the School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences and local news media outlets. Results and conclusions of the project and recommendations for producers are available to the public via the Reindeer Research Program website; http://reindeer.salrm.uaf.edu. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
There is a growing national demand for reindeer meat so expansion of the current industry is needed to increase production. Reindeer were traditionally free-ranged, but there is a movement to raise and feed reindeer inside fence. Profitability of reindeer farming in the state of Alaska is influenced by the high shipping cost of imported feed components. Developing rations and pasture strategies to take advantage of local feedstuffs and forage is needed to decrease feeding costs without compromising meat quality. There is an increased concern among consumers of the diets of livestock and its effects on the nutritional qualities of the meat they purchase. In this study we have established that farmed reindeer will readily consume rations supplemented with a fish byproduct (bonemeal). Although there was limited improvement in reindeer performance through supplementation in this study, gains may be greater in animal production settings where the standard ration is of lower quality (protein and mineral concentration). We can also make recommendations to reindeer producers on the effects two commonly grown pasture grasses, and haylage have on animal performance and meat quality. Both pasture grasses were readily consumed by reindeer with no negative effects on meat quality attributes. Smooth bromegrass produced more biomass during the growing season. Nugget bluegrass throughout the growing season was higher in digestibility and protein content so the amount of concentrate fed during summer was reduced. Protein concentration in milk of lactating females and performance of cow-calf pairs were higher in animals on NBG pasture suggesting reindeer milk composition and productivity can be improved through pasture management. SBG haylage was not readily consumed by reindeer during winter coupled with the additional mechanical and labor input during milling would likely make its use unprofitable as a component in a milled ration or forage supplement. More research is needed to evaluate palatability and effects on animal performance of other species of forage converted to haylage.

Publications

  • Wiklund, E., Finstad G., Aguiar, G., and Bechtel P. 2011. Does carcass suspension technique influence reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) meat quality attributes Animal Production Science (In press)
  • Wiklund, E., Finstad, G., Worker, S. & Bechtel, P. J. 2008. Effects of early castration on carcass composition, yield and quality characteristics of meat from young reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) bulls and steers. Rangifer. 28:1-8.


Progress 01/01/09 to 12/31/09

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Profitability of reindeer farming in the state of Alaska is influenced by the high shipping cost of imported feed components. Grass and legume haylage has been shown to be a cost effective supplemental feedstuff used in other livestock industries and reindeer production systems in Scandinavia. Grass haylage can be produced in Alaska and could provide a nutritional and cost effective supplement to Alaskan producers if reindeer would consume it while demonstrating acceptable performance. Mean dry matter intake (DMI) of animals fed a milled ration using haylage (20.9g concentrate/kg body weight) was not significantly different than the control group (20.8g concentrate/kg body weight). Control animals had a significantly higher DMI of haylage when it was fed on the side (1.1g concentrate/kg body weight) than treatment animals (0.6g concentrate/kg body weight) PARTICIPANTS: Greg Finstad served as Principal Investigator (PI). Finstad was responsible for developing research theme, specific hypotheses, experimental design and general oversight of the project He administered the budget and was the main liaison between members of the research team. Finstad oversaw construction of fences and establishment of the pastures. He provided oversight of all care and feeding of study animals, collection and analysis of all feed intake and animal growth data. Peter Bechtel, was a collaborator with the project and provided oversight of the proximate analyses of feed samples. Bechtel is with the Agricultural Research Service. George Aguiar was the technician responsible feeding and health care of the animals and for the collection and processing of all forage and milk samples. He was responsible for the weighing of animals. Aguiar primary responsibility for collection and collation of all project data and worked with data manager to organize and archive all data in a database. Suzanne Worker provided assistance with the collection of pasture samples and conducted all the forage analysis for the project. Darrell Blodgett managed and archived all data for the project. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences include producers and consumers in Alaska and nationally. Results of the project were presented orally in conjunction with a written report at the annual Reindeer Herders Association meeting consisting of Alaskan Native reindeer producers. Results from this project were presented at the national Reindeer Owners and Breeders Association meeting in Michigan. Members are made up of reindeer producers across the contiguous 48 states. Results and conclusions of the project and recommendations for producers are available to the public via the Reindeer Research Program website; http://reindeer.salrm.uaf.edu. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
Haylage was readily consumed by reindeer when used as a component in a milled ration, however additional mechanical and labor input during milling would likely make its use unprofitable. Pre exposure to the haylage in a milled ration did not significantly increase DMI of haylage when given as a supplement suggesting reindeer will consume the haylage, but it is not a preferred forage. Results from this preliminary study suggest reindeer will consume haylage during winter, thus reducing annual feeding costs, but research is needed to develop haylage as a readily consumed winter supplement.

Publications

  • Christie, A., Finstad, G. 2009. Reindeer in The "Great Land": Alaska's Red Meat Industry. Journal of Agricultural & Food Information, 10:354-373.
  • Aguiar, G. and G. Finstad. 2009. Supplemental feeding of Smooth Brome grass (Bromus Inermis) haylage to reindeer. Abstract. Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference. Nome, Alaska. March, 2009.
  • Finstad, G., Bucki, C., Aguiar, G., Wiklund, E. and P. Bechtel. 2009. Alaskan Fish Byproducts as a Feed Ingredient for Reindeer. In: A Sustainable Future: Fish Processing Byproducts. Book of Proceedings. Portland Oregon Feb. 2009.


Progress 01/01/08 to 12/31/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: In this study we compared the effects two pasture grasses typically grown in Alaska; (Bromus inermis), (SBG) and (Poa pratensis), (NBG) on feed intake, growth of females and calves, and milk composition. Reindeer on pasture reduced their ad lib intake of concentrate feed and cow calf groups on NBG pasture gained significantly more weight than control animals or those on SBG pasture. Females consuming NBG produced milk with lower lipid concentrations but higher crude protein levels that likely influenced calf growth rates. Results of the project were presented orally in conjunction with a written report at the annual Reindeer Herders Association meeting consisting of Alaskan Native reindeer producers. Results from this project were presented at the national Reindeer Owners and Breeders Association meeting in Michigan. Members are made up of reindeer producers across the contiguous 48 states. Results and conclusions of the project and recommendations for producers are available to the public via the Reindeer Research Program website; http://reindeer.salrm.uaf.edu. PARTICIPANTS: Greg Finstad serves as Principal Investigator (PI). Finstad is responsible for developing research theme, specific hypotheses, experimental design and general oversight of the project. He administers the budget and is the main liaison between members of the research team. Finstad oversaw construction of fences and establishment of the pastures. He provides oversight of all care and feeding of study animals, collection and analysis of all forage biomass, intake and animal growth data. Peter Bechtel, is a collaborator with the project and provides oversight of the chemical analyses of the milk samples. Bechtel is with the USDA Agricultural Research Service. George Aguiar is the technician responsible for feeding and health care of the animals and for the collection and processing of all forage and milk samples. He is responsible for the weighing of animals. Aguiar has primary responsibility for collection and collation of all project data and works with the data manager to organize and archive all data in a database. Suzanne Worker provides assistance with the collection of pasture samples and conducts all the forage analysis for the project. Darrell Blodgett manages and archives all data for the project. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences include producers and consumers in Alaska and nationally. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
The cost of imported feed is a major factor in the profitability of livestock operations in Alaska. Domestic reindeer require a high energy and protein diet during summer which is usually provided by a milled ration containing cereal grain and supplemental protein and minerals. However, reindeer can meet part of their summer nutrient requirements by grazing on pasture. Nutritional status and milk composition of parturient females will influence calf growth and ultimately herd production.Smooth bromegrass (SBG) produced more biomass (562.7 g/sq.m) than NBG (322.1 g/sq.m) but NBG had a better nutritional profile with higher crude protein (15.5% compared to 7.9%), higher mineral concentrations, and lower fiber concentrations (40.8% compared to 47.6% neutral detergent fiber) than SBG. Females and calves reduced intake of concentrate by 20% on SBG pasture and 16% on NBG pasture. Cow calf groups gained significantly more weight (35.0 kg) on NBG pasture than pairs on SBG pasture (33.0 kg) or the control diet (32.5 kg). There was no difference in milk composition among all groups at the start of the trial, but females run on NBG pasture progressively produced milk with significantly (P < 0.05) higher crude protein (10.7%) than either animals on SBG pasture (9.4%) or control animals (9.6%). Females run on NBG pasture produced milk with significantly (P < 0.05) lower lipid concentrations (15.0%) than those on SBG pasture (19.3%) or control animals (18.5%).Reindeer producers can now influence the rate of consumption of expensive concentrate feed along with milk composition and calf growth rates by running their animals on pastures composed of different grasses.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/07 to 12/31/07

Outputs
OUTPUTS: There is a growing demand for reindeer meat products so expansion of the current industry to more intensive farming practices is needed to meet this demand. But, farmed reindeer cannot survive on pasture alone but require supplementation with a concentrate. The concentrate which usually consists of cereal grain and supplemental protein and minerals is costly in Alaska and the amount fed will influence profitability of a reindeer operation. To increase profitability reindeer producers need to know what pasture grasses will deliver the best nutrition and promote good animal production, but will minimize the amount of expensive supplemental feed needed. There is also an increased concern among consumers of the diets of livestock and its effects on the nutritional qualities of the meat they purchase. In this study, biomass production and nutritional profile of two pasture grasses typically grown in Alaska; (Bromus inermis), (SBG) and (Poa pratensis), (NBG) and the effects on animal production were evaluated. Also we evaluated meat quality attributes of animals raised on the two grasses. We can now make recommendations to reindeer stakeholders on the effect two commonly grown pasture grasses have on animal production and meat quality. Both pasture grasses are readily consumed by reindeer with no negative effects on production or meat quality. Kentucky bluegrass has a better nutritional profile for reindeer so the amount of concentrate fed during summer is reduced, but using smooth bromegrass may be more profitable since it could be used for both pasture and hay production. PARTICIPANTS: Greg Finstad served as Principal Investigator (PI). Finstad was responsible for developing research theme, specific hypotheses, experimental design and general oversight of the project He administered the budget and was the main liaison between members of the research team. Finstad oversaw construction of fences and establishment of the pastures. He provided oversight of all care and feeding of study animals, collection and analysis of all forage biomass, intake and animal growth data. Finstad worked with collaborators to conduct meat quality measurements and the transportation of animals to slaughter. Peter Bechtel, Eva Wiklund and Kristy Long were collaborators with the project and provided oversight of the chemical analyses and sensory evaluation of meat samples. Bechtel is with the Agricultural Research Service and Long is with the Cooperative Extension Service. Wiklund oversaw the transportation and slaughtering of animals and was responsible for collection of meat samples and slaughter and carcass data, carcass and sample processing and worked collaboratively with Long on sensory evaluation and with Bechtel on proximate analysis.George Aguiar was the technician responsible feeding and health care of the animals and for the collection and processing of all forage and meat samples. He was responsible for the weighing of animals. Aguiar primary responsibility for collection and collation of all project data and worked with data manager to organize and archive all data in a database. Suzanne Worker provided assistance with the collection of pasture samples and conducted all the forage analysis for the project.Darrell Blodgett managed and archived all data for the project. Collaborators Other participating collaborators include Delta Meat and Sausage Company which provided USDA inspected slaughtering services and carcass processing. A local high school student collaborated on the project as a basis for an Alaskan Science Symposium project. He will be presenting results to his peers and high school teachers in a statewide science symposium. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences include producers and consumers in Alaska and nationally. Results of the project were presented orally in conjunction with a written report at the annual Reindeer Herders Association meeting consisting of Alaskan Native reindeer producers. Results from this project were presented at the national Reindeer Owners and Breeders Association meeting in Michigan. Members are made up of reindeer producers across the contiguous 48 states. Results and conclusions of the project and recommendations for producers are available to the public via the Reindeer Research Program website; http://reindeer.salrm.uaf.edu.

Impacts
Smooth bromegrass produced more biomass (562.7 g/sq.m) than NBG (322.1 g/sq.m) but NBG had a better nutritional profile with higher crude protein (17.2% compared to 15.3%), higher mineral concentrations, and lower fiber concentrations (40.8% compared to 47.6% neutral detergent fiber) than SBG. Both pasture grasses reduced intake of concentrate by 35%, but reindeer on NBG gained 24% more weight than reindeer on SBG. Crude protein and minerals in SBG decline through the season and are less than found in NBG but animal offtake is greater for SBG which may compensate for the lower nutrient concentrations. Smooth bromegrass has the benefit of higher biomass production which may support both grazing and the cutting and harvesting for hay. Proximate composition of the meat was very similar between the pasture fed animals and a control group with moisture values ranging from 72.1 - 73.0 %, lipid content of 1.3 % in all groups, ash content from 2.6 - 2.8% and protein content from 22.2 - 22.8%. Meat from the control animals had lower ultimate pH values (P=0.01) and was more tender (P=0.08) compared with samples from the pasture groups. The meat from the bromegrass group had the best water-holding capacity (P=0.04). At 1 day post slaughter after 2 h of blooming at + 2 degree C meat samples from the control group developed the brightest red color (P=0.004) . The results from this study demonstrated good and similar quality of meat from reindeer raised on pasture species commonly grown in Alaska.

Publications

  • Aguiar, G. and Finstad, G. 2007. Biomass production, nutritional characteristics and effect on reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) production of two pasture grasses: Kentucky Nugget Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and Smooth Brome grass (Bromus Inermis). Abstract. Arctic Division AAAS Symposium. September 24-26. Anchorage, Alaska.
  • Finstad G.L., Wiklund, E., Long, K., Rincker, P.J., Oliveira, A.C., and Bechtel, P.,J. 2007. Feeding soy or fish meal to Alaskan reindeer. (Rangifer tarandus tarandus)-effects on animal performance and meat quality. Rangifer 27(1) 59-75.


Progress 01/01/06 to 12/31/06

Outputs
Eighteen yearling reindeer steers were randomly allocated to each of three groups. A control group was placed in a pen with no natural forage and fed a typical milled reindeer ration, ad lib. A second group was placed on a pasture of Smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis) (SBG) but also fed, ad lib, the same milled ration. The third group was placed on a pasture of Kentucky Nugget Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) (NBG) and also fed, ad lib, the milled ration. The animals were placed in the pen and pastures during the second week in June and the trial continued for 49 days. Animals were weighed biweekly and daily dry matter intake (DDMI) was determined for each group. Mean total gain of control animals was 20.1 (SEM 2.6) kg/animal and daily gain was 0.4 kg/animal; of animals on SBG pasture total gain was 14.3 (SEM 2.6) kg/animal and daily gain was 0.29 kg/animal; of animals on NBG pasture total gain was 18.8 (SEM 2.8) kg/animal and daily gain was 0.38 kg/animal but differences were not significant (p 0.3). Total milled feed consumed by control animals during the trial was 1037.6 kg with a DDMI of 3.5 kg/animal; 642.0 kg with a DDMI of 2.2 kg/animal by animals on SBG pasture and 680.6 kg with a DDMI of 2.3 kg/animal by animals on NBG pasture. Feed efficiencies calculated using only milled ration consumed was 11.6 %, 13.4 % and 16.6 % for control, SBG and NBG animals, respectively.

Impacts
The supplementary use of pasture in an intensive reindeer feeding regime reduces consumption of a milled ration by 38% using Smooth bromegrass and 34 % by using Kentucky Nugget Bluegrass as the forage source. Animal performance, measured as feed efficiency was better using Kentucky Nugget Bluegrass. Reindeer producers now can evaluate the cost/benefit of developing pastures to supplement the feeding of reindeer in an intensively managed operation.

Publications

  • Bechtel, P. J., Wiklund, E., Finstad, G. and Oliveira, A. C. M. 2006. Lipid composition of meat from free-ranging reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) and reindeer fed soybean meal or fishmeal-based rations. Poster and abstract. 2006 Institute of Food Technologists. Annual Meeting, 24-28 June, Orlando, USA.
  • Wiklund, E., Malmfors, G. and Finstad, G. 2006. Reindeer meat; is it always tender, tasty and healthy? Abstract. 14th Nordic Conference on Reindeer Research, 21-22 March, Helsinki, Finland.


Progress 01/01/05 to 12/31/05

Outputs
Reindeer meat can be produced in Alaska under a variety of management systems. Meat can reach the market where reindeer are raised intensively behind fence and fed a complete ration. The protein in the ration can be provided by either soybean meal exported to Alaska or locally produced fish meal. Also meat can reach the market place from animals raised extensively where they are allowed to freely forage on native tundra vegetation. This project aims to compare attributes of meat produced from free ranging or intensively managed animals using a fish meal or soybean meal based diet. Traditionally, reindeer meat in Alaska is produced from free-ranging animals. Formulating a low-cost, balanced reindeer diet from locally produced components is crucial for the development of complementary reindeer meat production on farms. Typically, soybean meal is used as a protein supplement in ruminant diets, but soybeans cannot be grown in Alaska. Alaskas fishing industry creates byproducts such as fishmeal that could be used as a protein source in reindeer diets, but its effect on quality attributes of the meat is unknown. Our objective was to evaluate effects of the various diets on sensory and technological properties related to the eating quality of reindeer meat. Seven reindeer steers at the University of Alaska's reindeer farm were fed a 16% crude protein diet based on either 6.8% soybean meal (n=3) or 3.0% fishmeal (n=4) for 12 weeks and then slaughtered at a USDA approved abattoir. Four adult free-ranging reindeer were slaughtered on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Loin muscle was excised and evaluated for tenderness (Warner-Bratzler (WB) shear force values), cooking loss and sensory characteristics using a trained panel and a consumer test. No significant differences (p&#61619;0.05) were found comparing the three treatment groups for cooking loss (ranged from 21.6 - 23.2%) WB values (2.3 - 2.7 kg/cm2) or the trained panel's scores for juiciness, tenderness, meat flavor and off-flavor. The consumer test included samples from fishmeal fed and free-ranging reindeer. More consumers characterized the meat from free-ranging reindeer by various off-flavor attributes compared with the meat from fishmeal fed animals.

Impacts
Consumers value the attributes of reindeer meat and are willing to pay a premium price. Reindeer meat is exceptionally tender. We could not find any negative effects on eating quality of reindeer meat from animals fed low levels of fishmeal. Fishmeal demonstrates promise as a cost-effective feed component for intensively managed reindeer operations in Alaska.

Publications

  • Finstad, G., Bechtel, P. Wiklund E. and Long, K. 2005. Sensory and technological properties of meat from free-ranging reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) or reindeer fed soybean meal or fishmeal-based rations. Institute of Food Technologist Meeting Book of Abstracts. #89F-29.


Progress 01/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
Developing a pasture in Alaska poses unique challenges. Fence construction and pasture development must consider special factors such as permafrost, poor drainage, severe soil-jacking species and cultivation of forage and exclusion of wild animals such as moose. Specially designed three 100m x 100m pens were constructed during 2004. Steel posts were driven and anchored into frozen ground. High-tension wire was strung along the top and bottom of the posts and 8 ft. high tension fencing attached to create a floating fence that would flex with the seasonal soil jacking. A combination of gates and raceways were also constructed to easily move animals from pen to pen or into a handling facility where they could be weighed or sampled. Pastures were harrowed, fertilized and planted with Smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), respectively. An herbicide was applied midsummer to control a significant weed outbreak. Fifteen male reindeer consisting of calves and yearlings were set aside as future experimental animals.

Impacts
Developing a well-designed productive pasture is important for long term pasture management research projects. A series of pastures, raceways and gates was constructed and developed for long-term research use.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period