Feed Efficiency

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BEEF CATTLE FEED EFFICIENCY:
OPPORTUNITIES FOR
IMPROVEMENT
Dan Faulkner
Department of Animal Sciences
We have done a good job of
selecting for outputs.
WHAT ABOUT INPUTS?
Feedlot Profit Model (Quality
Grid)
Variables
MS
HCW2
G:F
YG2
MS2
YG
G:F2
HCW
Partial R2
0.2456
0.1703
0.1287
0.0639
0.0625
0.0562
0.0153
0.0097
Other
25%
MS
31%
YG
12%
G:F
14%
HCW
18%
Why Efficiency is Becoming
More Important
•
•
•
•
Decreasing acres for crop production
Increasing world population
Increased utilization of food for fuel
Increasing feed cost (including
forages)
• Other inputs increasing in cost (fuel,
transportation, fertilizer)
Feed Cost Represent 65-70%
of Beef Production Costs
A 1% improvement in feed efficiency
has the same economic impact as a
3% improvement in rate of gain
On a feed:gain basis, beef
cattle are least efficient
compared to other livestock
< 2:1
< 3.5:1
> 6:1
Poultry Improvement
250% improvement in efficiency
since 1957
Why are beef cattle less efficient?
• Feed higher fiber
diets
Why are beef cattle less efficient?
• No selection for feed
efficiency
• Why?
–
–
–
–
Individual feeding
Expensive facilities
High labor requirement
Lack of social interaction
decreases feed intake
– Difficult to compare at
similar body compositions
Combining the GrowSafe and
Ultrasound technologies allows feed
efficiency comparisons at different
endpoints
• Endpoints:
–
–
–
–
–
Weight
Backfat
Marbling
Age
Time on Feed
Risks of selecting for
Feed:gain
• Selecting for F:G
– Increase cow size
– Increase leaness
– Increase feed intake
resulting in decreased
digestibility, increased
organ weights, and
increased heat
increment
Net Feed Efficiency
(Residual Feed Intake)
Is the difference between an animal’s actual
feed intake and expected feed intake based on
its size and growth over a specific test period
Is moderately heritable (0.30 – 0.45) and may
reflect an animals maintenance energy
requirement
Is independent of body size and growth rate
Selection for RFI will:
• Not effect rate of gain
• Not effect animal size
• Reduce feed intake by 1012%
• Improve F:G by 9-15%
Processes for Variation in Feed
Efficiency
• Feed consumption
• Feed digestion and associated energy
costs
• Metabolism
• Activity
• Thermoregulation
Genetic of RFI
• There is genetic variation in RFI and it is moderately
heritable
• Progeny of cattle selected for low RFI consume less
feed at the same level of growth
• On low quality pastures, cattle selected for low RFI
will exhibit higher growth rates
• Low RFI cattle remain efficient throughout their life
• Low RFI cattle have a strong genetic correlation only
with feed intake
• Genetic improvement in feed efficiency can be
achieved by selection for low RFI
Review by Paul
Arthur
Why are the opportunities to
improve feed efficiency greater
now than ever before?
• GrowSafe system
• Ultrasound
• Net Feed Efficiency
Angus Project
• High use Angus Bulls bred to
commercial SimAngus cows
• Goal of 15-20 progeny per bull
• Complete measurements
• Heifer mates evaluated on a high
forage diet
Data Collected
• All standard performance
information
• Individual feed intake, efficiency and
RFI
• All standard carcass measurements
• Serial ultrasound and hip height
• Chute exit speed (behavior)
• DNA (blood) collected on every
animal
2007 Study
•
•
•
•
Three diets varying in starch level
Early weaned calves (85 days)
Base price $83.35
Five year average grid
Feedlot Performance
Sire
RFI
F/G
DMI
ADG
No.
A
-.58
4.53
17.9
3.95
23
B
-.42
4.65
18.2
3.91
19
C
-.10
4.42
17.8
3.85
17
D
.10
4.78
18.1
3.78
27
E
.12
4.74
17.7
3.73
23
F
.95
4.96
17.9
3.61
18
Carcass Data
Sire
HCW Value $
REA
BF
Marb
A
835
1144
14.5
.61
547
B
866
1226
13.9
.61
586
C
821
1174
14.0
.59
608
D
833
1231
14.8
.68
622
E
789
1122
13.6
.73
612
F
772
1078
13.6
.59
579
Comparing RFI
Sire
Grain RFI
Forage RFI
A
-.58
-.18
B
-.42
-.03
C
-.10
-.46
D
.10
.44
E
.12
.29
F
.95
.00
Angus Bulls
(2008 data)
Feedlot Performance
Sire
A
RFI
-1.18
F/G
4.86
DMI
20.9
ADG
4.30
No.
5
B
-0.98
5.45
21.0
3.85
4
C
-0.90
5.20
22.3
4.31
8
D
-0.69
5.26
21.7
4.15
7
E
-0.55
5.20
22.0
4.24
9
F
-0.27
5.28
22.7
4.30
15
G
-0.18
5.20
24.5
4.73
8
H
-0.16
5.48
23.0
4.23
7
Feedlot Performance
Sire
I
RFI
-0.10
F/G
5.32
DMI
23.0
ADG
4.36
No.
8
J
0.02
5.36
23.4
4.38
11
K
0.13
5.31
22.8
4.30
20
L
0.13
5.29
22.1
4.18
10
M
0.38
5.33
23.7
4.44
11
N
0.63
5.59
23.3
4.20
3
0
0.74
5.50
23.7
4.32
8
P
0.85
5.61
23.6
4.24
12
Carcass Data
Sire
A
HCW Value $
786
996
REA
12.2
BF
0.66
Marb
540
B
797
968
12.9
0.64
480
C
850
1039
12.5
0.75
583
D
808
1003
12.4
0.66
589
E
814
1031
12.1
0.73
671
F
836
1054
12.4
0.66
632
G
915
1109
13.5
0.72
621
H
848
979
11.4
0.74
552
Carcass Data
Sire
I
HCW Value $
838
969
REA
11.6
BF
0.76
Marb
595
J
857
1031
12.1
0.79
658
K
817
960
11.7
0.77
523
L
785
992
12.3
0.63
595
M
847
1090
13.2
0.69
613
N
823
1000
12.3
0.66
515
O
834
1021
12.3
0.82
649
P
823
993
12.2
0.71
568
Comparing RFI
Sire No. on
Grain
5
A
4
B
8
C
7
D
9
E
15
F
8
G
7
H
Grain
RFI
-1.18
-0.98
-0.90
-0.69
-0.55
-0.27
-0.18
-0.16
Forage
RFI
-.12
-.33
.88
-.28
-.35
.78
-.38
-.52
No. on
Forage
4
12
2
7
8
8
8
4
Comparing RFI
Sire No. on
grain
8
I
11
J
20
K
10
L
11
M
3
N
8
O
12
P
Grain
RFI
-0.10
0.02
0.13
0.13
0.38
0.63
0.74
0.85
Forage
RFI
.38
.93
-1.06
.18
.21
.03
-.47
.61
No. on
Forage
10
12
12
4
5
5
5
4
Forage Intake
• Measure voluntary forage intake of
purebred heifers as cows (5 two
week long observations throughout
the yearly cycle)
• Relate this to RFI on forage as
heifers and to RFI of steer mates
Variation in Heifer Intake
• T008 weighed 1360 lbs and ate 38.3 lb/d
(2.8% BW)
• T032 weighed 1357 lb and ate 53.5 lb/d
(3.9% BW)
• T073 weighed 1359 lb and ate 30.1 lb/d
(2.2% BW)
• T007 weighed 1529 lb and ate 47.5 lb/d
(3.1% BW)
• T106 weighed 1020 lb and ate 48.6 lb/d
(4.8% BW)
Assessment of US Cap and
Trade Proposals
MIT Joint Program on the Science and
Policy of Global Change
Paltsev et al., 2007 (Report No. 146)
Proposals
There is a wide range of proposals in
the US congress that would impose
mandatory controls on green house
gas emissions yielding substantial
reductions in us greenhouse gas
emissions relative to a projected
reference growth. The scenarios
explored span the range of
stringency of these bills.
Pricing of CO2 Equivalents
(metric ton)
Economy wide Cap
– In 2015 prices for three cases are $18,
$41 and $53
– In 2050 prices for three cases would
reach $70, $161, and $210
Agricultural, Households, Services
excluded
– In 2015 prices for the three cases are
$14, $31 and $41
– In 2050 prices for the three cases would
reach $54, $121, and $161
Three Ways to Reduce Methane
Emissions From Beef Cattle
• Manipulate the diet
• Use genetic selection to improve
efficiency
• Reduce the life cycle of the animal
Dietary Factors
•
•
•
•
Level of feed intake
Type of carbohydrate in the diet
Feed processing
Adding lipid to the diet (Alberta
Protocol)
• Alterations of rumen fermentation
with products like ionophores
Level of Intake
• Higher the level of intake higher the
rate of methane production
– Limit feeding
– Programmed feeding
– RFI
– Manure production is related to intake
Type of Diet
• High grain diets produce less
methane
• High forage diets produce more
methane
Feed Additives to Reduce
Methane
• Ionophores
– Not a change in practice for the feedlot
industry
– Could be a change for the cow/calf
industry
• Essential Oils (Calsamiglia et al.,
2007 JDS)
Genetic selection to Improve
Efficiency
RFI on Methane Production
• Ten high and low RFI steers were
selected out of 76 steers to evaluate
Methane production
• Steers with the lowest RFI emitted 25%
less methane daily
• When expressed per unit of ADG the
reduction was 24%
Hegarty et al., 2007
RFI on Methane Production
• Twenty seven steers were selected out of 306
based on their RFI (high, medium and low)
• Methane production was 28 and 24% less in
the low RFI animals compared with high and
medium RFI animals
Nkrumah et a., 2006
Bull Selection for RFI
• Using high efficiency bulls will allow
producers to capture carbon credits
• Initially direct measurement of bulls
will be the only means of evaluating
efficiency
• Breed Associations are currently
compiling information on feed intake
and efficiency of bulls and may
develop EPD in the near future
Reduce the Life Cycle of the
Animal
• This has the largest potential
reduction in methane production
Beef Life Cycle (Alberta
Protocol)
• Beef cattle in Canada are slaughtered
at 18 months of age (range of 14-21
months)
• Must prove that a change has
occurred (reduced age) relative to
practices in the baseline (before
project) conditions
Challenges
• Size of cow/calf operations
• Documenting ration changes
• Documenting baseline data
Days on feed (Alberta
Protocol)
• Must prove that a change has
occurred (less days) relative to
practices in the baseline (before
project) conditions
• Attained by placing heavier cattle
• This system actually increases
methane emissions throughout the
life cycle (but reduces methane in the
finishing as documented)
Methods to Reduce the life
Cycle
• Creep feeding
• Early weaning
• Feeding higher energy diets
– Reduces intake which decreases
methane production
– High concentrate diets reduce methane
production
– Increases rate of gain (reduced age at
slaughter)
Verification
• Independent third party verification
will be required to generate carbon
credits
• Process verified programs could
expand to fill this role
• Entities to aggregate and market the
credits will need to be developed
• Potential returns are large
• Producers need to document current
Other Related Carbon Credit
Sources
•
•
•
•
Anaerobic digesters
Rangeland management
Manure reduction
No-till
Value of Credits
• Unlike land based carbon credits
which are stored in the soil and are
reemitted with practice change,
those generated from cattle are
permanent
• Larger amounts of credits are worth
more per unit
– Advantage for large operations like
feedlots
Conclusions
• There is potential to create carbon
credits through beef production
practices
• There are challenges in documenting
the changes, aggregating the credits
and marketing the credits
• Potential returns are large
• It is important to document current
production practices
Questions?
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