The aim of this study was to evaluate intake, performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality of lambs fed finishing diets containing 0%, 7.5% and 15% safflower seeds (Carthamus tinctorius) as a replacement for corn and soybean meal. Thirty-six male lambs with mean bodyweight of 17.9 ± 1.8 kg were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: C0: no safflower seeds, C7.5: 7.5%safflower seeds in diet (DM basis), and C15: 15% safflower seeds in diet (DM basis). The lambs were fed in pens of two and thus there were six replicates per treatment. Performance and carcass characteristics were not affected by including safflower seeds in their diet. Animals fed 7.5% safflower seeds had greater dry matter intake. There was a linear effect of increasing the redness (a*) of meat with the amount of safflower, where a mean of 15.77 was found for lambs that received the C15 diet. With increasing levels of safflower, the concentration of fatty acids C14:0, C17:0, and C22:1 increased. However, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA, C18:2) was reduced in lambs fed C15. A concentration of 0.461 g/100 g meat was observed for animals that consumed C7.5. Thus, lambs fed a diet containing 7.5% safflower had the greatest dry matter intake, carcass fat, and concentration of conjugated linoleic acid in their meat, and enhanced meat colour.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher