Feedlot performance, feed efficiency, and profitability of cattle fed either a complete mixed ration or allowed to voluntarily select their diet.

2013 Annual Report for OW12-020

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2012: $49,967.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Western
State: Utah
Principal Investigator:
Beth Burritt
Utah State University

Feedlot performance, feed efficiency, and profitability of cattle fed either a complete mixed ration or allowed to voluntarily select their diet.


We completed the first study, but data needs to be analyzed. The study was highlighted at at the annual SAREC field day.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. To determine if ADG, feed efficiency and RFI of cattle fed a total mixed ration differs from cattle allowed to self-select their dietary ingredients (Note: RFI is the difference between an animal’s actual and predicted feed intake based on equations for maintenance and growth. RFI is used to rank animals from most to least efficient. A negative RFI means animals are more efficient than average, and those with a positive RFI are less efficient.)

2. To compare the profitability of cattle fed TMR to cattle allowed to self-select their dietary ingredients.

3. In collaboration with producers participating in the project, create “producer-friendly” web and print resources to help relay the impacts of the project to other livestock producers.


During 2013, we completed study 1. Thirty-two heifers were purchased by University of Wyoming specifically for the feeding trial. Heifers were blocked by weight and randomly assigned to one of two groups; Control or Self-select (n = 16/group).

Control heifers were fed a conventional total mixed ration composed of grass haylage, corn and alfalfa pellets formulated to meet National Research Council NRC requirements. Self-select heifers were fed the same feedstuffs separately to allow them to select their dietary ingredients.

Each treatment group was divided in half with eight heifers/pen (two reps/treatment and eight calves/rep). From 6/12/14 to 6/24/14 heifers were accustomed to the feeding system and the feeds used in the trial. The feeding trial was conducted for two months from 6/25/13 to 8/25/13. Average daily gain (ADG),residual feed intake (RFI) and feed intake, and behavior of each heifer, was collected using the GrowSafe system located at the University of Wyoming Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Lingle, WY.

Data has not yet been analyzed, but profitability of the two feeding regimes will be evaluated by comparing feed costs, including those associated with feed preparation, laborcosts, weight gain, feed efficiency and net proceeds received.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

This feedlot project was profiled at the annual SAREC field day August 2013. The annual event is for livestock producers, university personnel, extension professionals and other interestd individuals.


Wayne Tatman

Lingle, WY 82223
Rocky Foy

Glendo, WY 82213
Beth Burritt

[email protected]
Extension Assistant Professor
Utah State University Cooperative Extension
5230 Old Main Hill
box Elder, Cache and Rich Counties
Logan, UT 84322
Office Phone: 4357973576
Dr. Scott Lake

[email protected]
Beef Extension Specialist
University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY 82070
Office Phone: 3078372000
Cole Evans

Avon, UT 84328
Office Phone: 4352456998
Dr. Steve Paisley

[email protected]
UW Beef Extension Specialist
Wheatland, WY 82201
Office Phone: 3078372000
Greg Flitner

Shell, WY 82441