- Agronomic: corn, soybeans, grass (misc. perennial), hay
- Animals: bovine
- Animal Production: feed/forage, feed additives, feed formulation, mineral supplements
- Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension
- Farm Business Management: feasibility study, new enterprise development, value added
- Production Systems: holistic management
- Sustainable Communities: public participation
A majority of the cattle produced in the southeastern U.S. are transported to grain finish-feeding facilities and harvested within the mid-western U.S. Producers in the Southeast have limited production and marketing options for cattle which limit opportunities within the beef chain. The southeastern U.S. has a natural opportunity to utilize high quality forages in rotational cropping systems as an alternative method of finishing cattle. Forage finished beef or high forage beef diets have been found to posses a number of desirable health related characteristics. Approximately 20% of beef consumers are willing to pay a premium for forage finished beef. Research shows forage finished cattle are similar to grain finished animals when evaluating economic factors of the animal and carcass. However, quality grade of forage finished beef can be negatively impacted. Data have shown that beef packers demand beef that grades at least USDA Choice, or a lower price is realized. Forage finished beef often falls short of the USDA Choice line and discounted. Forage finishing systems often produce cattle with lower quality grades and often extends days on feed. This could decrease the overall profitability, sustainability and viability of alternative finishing systems. A method to improve quality grade of forage-finished beef would increase profitability and further enhance marketability. Research shows that brown seaweed (Tasco-14®) has increased quality grade in cattle when supplemented in various forms. Therefore, our objectives are to determine the efficacy of Tasco-14® supplementation in forage finished beef to increase desirable economic traits of the carcass and animal.
Project objectives from proposal:
The proposed research is intended to evaluate the efficacy of Tasco-14® supplementation in various treatment diets as a method to increase the effectiveness and overall profitability of various forage finishing systems as alternative marketing option to beef producers in the southeastern U.S. The objectives are as follows:
1. Evaluate animal performance throughout finishing period as measured by average daily gain to determine efficacy of supplementation in forage diets
2. Determine the success of Tasco-14® supplementation to reduce days on feed necessary to obtain adequate endpoint fat thickness over the 12th rib and to successfully increase USDA quality grade as well as effects on evaluated carcass characteristics
3. Determine the effects of supplementation in various forage diets on steak palatability and muscle protein, fat and moisture.