Study: Less feed for heifers can result in more efficiency

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Thursday, January 27, 2011

C. Reducing the amount of feed given to heifers can result in more efficient use of nutrients for growth and reproduction, according to a study conducted by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists.

In the study, USDA animal scientist Andrew Roberts and colleagues divided heifers (50 percent Red Angus, 25 percent Charolais, and 25 percent Tarentaise) into two lifetime treatment groups. The control group was fed according to industry guidelines, and the restricted-feed group was fed 80 percent of feed consumed by their control counterparts for 140 days. The feeding treatments ended when the animals were one year old. The restricted feed heifers grew slower and weighed less at any point in time as a consequence of less feed.

Researchers found that the restricted feed heifers grew to target weights lower than those traditionally recommended, consumed 27 percent less feed over the winter months, and gained weight more efficiently throughout the postweaning period and subsequent grazing season.

The study, “Beef Cattle: Improving Production Effeciency and Meat Quality,” was published in the January 2011issue of Agricultural Research magazine. Details can be found here.
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