- Animals: bovine
- Animal Production: feed/forage, genetics
⦁ Date of Report: 2/10/2017
During the course of the project, it was also found that there are many misconceptions and lack of understanding by the cow/calf producers in our area. Many believe that feed efficiency is only a concern for the feedlot and not their cow/calf operation. Another misconception is that high daily gain, or cattle who look fleshy are efficient. While these cattle may be, there are many who are not. Instead they are “big eaters” and look good as a result. Although not stated as a goal of this project initially, it seems as if the education of the people we have met and visited with through this project should also be listed as a goal at least partially achieved as this project ends.
Phase 1): Put newly weaned calves on all forage diet, and move them to first grass of the season ASAP. This was accomplished by weaning fall calves in early April and using an all-hay diet with supplemental barrels for balancing protein and providing a lick-source for mineral.
- Dale Stansbeary and Cameron Liston assisted in the pasture and chuteside with the weighing and DNA collection process.
- Werner Feed Efficiency Center staff assisted in the feed efficiency testing process and ultrasounding of the animals at the conclusion of the feed efficiency test.
- Joe Sellers, State Extension Beef Specialist, assisted in consulting at the beginning and end of the project. He also enlisted us to present the outcomes of the SARE grass gain finding part of the project at the 2016 Iowa Grass and Grazing conference held in Ames, IA on 1/21/16.
858 lbs x $2.40 (per pound price) = $2,059
858 lbs x $1.45 = $1,244
The value of the pasture at today’s calf price of $1.40 is still $414 per acre – a very decent return on the ground use.
Cost of Gain (COG) therefore ranged from .44 per pound to .58 per pound with feed costs of .10 per pound.
This results in a 600# gain difference of $82 in feed cost alone. There would also be added yardage costs for less efficient cattle in a commercial application.
The 4th top ADG bull was the exception as he was 8th best in conversion.
The next 5 ADG bulls ranked then ranked 4, 5, 7 and 9th for conversion.
The top 2 ADG bulls (5.61# and 4.86#) were also the top 2 for grass gain (4.18# and 3.32#).
The 3rd top ADG bull (4.68#) was 4th in grass gain (2.71#).
The 4th top ADG bull (4.63#) was 9th (last) in grass gain (1.68#).
The only other exception to linking ADG and grass gain rankings was the 7th ADG bull (4.53#) who had the 3rd best grass gain (3.21#).
calving BW Gain Feed Intake score Feed Docility Ranking from Angus
ease (RFI) Conversion Ranking (100 best) EPD
5 6 2 2 2 5 2 2 8 7
9 8 4 3 1 5 3 8 9 8
4 2 9 4 9 3 8 6 2 6
8 4 6 5 5 1 4 7 5 2
7 9 5 6 8 2 5 4 2 3
3 3 3 7 7 8 6 1 1 5
1 1 8 8 6 4 7 9 7 4
2 2 7 9 3 9 9 5 4 1
At this point in time, it appears there is nothing better than actual testing of calves to determine which are most feed efficient in the feedlot and which gain best on pasture. The public contacts made about the process and purpose of this project appear to be well received and educational for many. Not being able to identify the better efficiency calves by body type was enlightening to many. The cost of feed efficiency testing large groups of animals is cost prohibitive.