A Comparison between the effects of day and night cropping on greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) meat quality
The greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) has become a popular ungulate species for game meat production and the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of day and night cropping on its meat quality. Eight animals were cropped during the day and eight at night. Day-cropped animals had higher mean behavioural scores (perceived amount of ante-mortem stress experienced) and Cortisol levels (behavioural score = 3.0 ± 0.641; Cortisol = 68 ± 1.28 nmol/l) than night-cropped animals (behavioural score = 1.8 ± 0.955; Cortisol = 14 ± 2.15 nmol/l). The muscle ultimate pH (pHu) values differed significantly between the two treatments (day-cropped animals = 5.40 ± 0.030; night-cropped = 5.48 ± 0.041). Significant differences were also found in drip loss (day-cropped = 2.76 ± 0.261%; night-cropped = 1.36 ± 0.361 %) and in shear force between treatments (day-cropped = 3.45 ± 0.171; night-cropped = 4.06 ± 0.237 kg/1.27 cm diameter). No differences were found between the treatments for any of the colour ordlnates, except L* values (day-cropped: 33.45 ± 0.435; night-cropped = 32.13 ± 0.601). The results of this study are Inconclusive in that although day-cropped animals experienced more ante-mortem stress and, as a result produced meat with higher drip loss, they had a lower shear force and a paler colour, which are positive meat quality attributes associated with less stress.