The high cost of importing concentrate feeds into Hawaii brought about the demise of the feedlot industry in the early 1990's. Consequently, for the past twenty-five years the state has shipped the majority of its annual calf-crop to mainland stocker-finisher programs. In recent years the rising cost of shipping these weaned calves to the mainland has sparked interest in grass-finished beef production as profit margins shrink. Higher in essential fats such as omega-3s, forage-finished beef is perceived and marketed as a healthier choice than grain-fed beef; often commanding a premium above commodity beef prices. However, successful grass-finished beef production in the tropics requires different management tactics than conventional stocker-feeder programs. Grass-finished beef quality is a function of genetics, forage quantity and quality over the production cycle, age of animal at slaughter, and climatic conditions that affect forage production and animal performance. A thorough understanding of the interaction between these factors is critical to the success of forage-finished beef production in Hawaii. This presentation will highlight over twenty years of research by the University of Hawaii into various aspects of grass-finish beef production in the tropics. Results of these investigations have facilitated the development of recommendations for weight to age ratios of animals at slaughter, and herd management, pasture improvement and grazing management practices. The University of Hawaii has made significant contributions to the development of tenderness standards for grass-finished beef products.
Oral presentation and poster titles, abstracts, and authors from the Society for Range Management (SRM) Annual Meetings and Tradeshows, from 2013 forward.