Feed efficiency trial underway in Wyoming | TSLN.com

Feed efficiency trial underway in Wyoming

Gayle Smith

Photo by Gayle SmithDr. Steve Paisley of the University of Wyoming talks with a group of ranchers about the feed efficiency trial underway at SAREC in Lingle, WY.

As consumers become more interested in lean and more consistent beef, producers are looking for ways to make that happen while still bringing in a profit. New research at the University of Wyoming (UW) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) in Lingle, WY is investigating just that by selecting bulls for feed efficiency.

“Selecting for feed efficiency is something we have never selected for in the past,” said Dr. Steve Paisley, UW Extension beef specialist, who is in charge of the feed efficiency trial. “Seedstock producers have selected bulls for performance. Feed efficiency and RFI (residual feed intake) is the next step,” he said.

Comparing cattle to cars, Paisley explained that in the past producers have selected a high performance car, but in the future, may need to consider something more efficient. “I don’t want producers to go to extremes and select a Ford Festiva. They need to use feed efficiency as an important selection tool in their programs,” he continued.

Paisley said feed efficiency can be a particularly valuable selection tool for bulls going to a range situation, or to a commercial cow-calf operation, where cattle tend to eat more roughage and are fed a lower energy diet.

The test is sanctioned by the Wyoming Hereford Association. According to Jay Middleswarth, a Hereford producer in Goshen County, the test is a way to help the group improve their herds and be on the cutting edge of some new technology. Middleswarth worked with Scott Keith of the Wyoming Business Council to get other Hereford breeders in the state interested in the test. Five pens of cattle with eight head each were brought to SAREC from six breeders. The breeders are from Torrington, Veteran, Wheatland, Lusk, Kaycee and Cheyenne.

“This test is a great opportunity for the Hereford Association,” Keith said. In December, Pfizer Animal Health collected DNA samples of the bulls, which is an additional opportunity for producers participating in the test.

Recommended Stories For You

Before the test began, the group worked with Keith and Paisley to put together a protocol for the test, and establish a marketing opportunity available afterward. Keith said at the end of the test the bulls will be offered for sale in an Internet auction. “It will be kind of a bull Ebay,” he said.

Middleswarth is excited about what the testing will mean for the Hereford Association. “There hasn’t been any testing done on Herefords for quite some time – since Midlands and Four Corners quit,” he explained. “I am really excited about being able to get something started at this facility. I wanted to be the first one with this kind of data available going into Denver,” he said.

Talking about the test, Middleswarth said the wilder bulls haven’t performed as well in the trial. “I think the best bulls are the ones who fit in the middle of the profile for feed efficiency,” he said. “There is a lot of interest from breeders in Wyoming in what is happening here. The cost is also very reasonable. This data is only costing me $.70 a day over what my own feed costs are at home. That is very reasonable compared to what I will gain from this data,” he said.

The bulls were brought to the facility for the trial on Nov. 1 where they had a 20-day warm-up period to get adjusted to the feed ration. Researchers are utilizing the Grow Safe livestock feeding system, which allows Paisley to measure how much feed each bull consumes by recording its electronic eartag number and weighing the feed intake. “It’s a great tool for what we haven’t been able to measure for in the past,” Paisley said. The bulls are gaining an average of 3.5 lbs. per day, with ranges from 2-4 lbs.

The bulls were weighed Dec. 7 and the official part of the 70-day test has begun. “They seem to be comfortable and acclimated to their pens,” he said. During the test, Paisley will look at how feed efficiency ties into carcass data, and what would happen if bulls were selected strictly for feed efficiency. “I think we will find that feed efficiency will negatively impact performance,” he said.

Paisley is also interested in RFI, which is what the animal should gain compared to what it actually gains. “It becomes an index to look at the intangibles,” he said. “There are always things that don’t fit into the equation, so we try and measure for that, too,” he explained. “It can be temperament, or things on a biological or cellular level. If we over-select for biological efficiency, it could negatively affect feedlot efficiency,” he finished.

As consumers become more interested in lean and more consistent beef, producers are looking for ways to make that happen while still bringing in a profit. New research at the University of Wyoming (UW) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) in Lingle, WY is investigating just that by selecting bulls for feed efficiency.

“Selecting for feed efficiency is something we have never selected for in the past,” said Dr. Steve Paisley, UW Extension beef specialist, who is in charge of the feed efficiency trial. “Seedstock producers have selected bulls for performance. Feed efficiency and RFI (residual feed intake) is the next step,” he said.

Comparing cattle to cars, Paisley explained that in the past producers have selected a high performance car, but in the future, may need to consider something more efficient. “I don’t want producers to go to extremes and select a Ford Festiva. They need to use feed efficiency as an important selection tool in their programs,” he continued.

Paisley said feed efficiency can be a particularly valuable selection tool for bulls going to a range situation, or to a commercial cow-calf operation, where cattle tend to eat more roughage and are fed a lower energy diet.

The test is sanctioned by the Wyoming Hereford Association. According to Jay Middleswarth, a Hereford producer in Goshen County, the test is a way to help the group improve their herds and be on the cutting edge of some new technology. Middleswarth worked with Scott Keith of the Wyoming Business Council to get other Hereford breeders in the state interested in the test. Five pens of cattle with eight head each were brought to SAREC from six breeders. The breeders are from Torrington, Veteran, Wheatland, Lusk, Kaycee and Cheyenne.

“This test is a great opportunity for the Hereford Association,” Keith said. In December, Pfizer Animal Health collected DNA samples of the bulls, which is an additional opportunity for producers participating in the test.

Before the test began, the group worked with Keith and Paisley to put together a protocol for the test, and establish a marketing opportunity available afterward. Keith said at the end of the test the bulls will be offered for sale in an Internet auction. “It will be kind of a bull Ebay,” he said.

Middleswarth is excited about what the testing will mean for the Hereford Association. “There hasn’t been any testing done on Herefords for quite some time – since Midlands and Four Corners quit,” he explained. “I am really excited about being able to get something started at this facility. I wanted to be the first one with this kind of data available going into Denver,” he said.

Talking about the test, Middleswarth said the wilder bulls haven’t performed as well in the trial. “I think the best bulls are the ones who fit in the middle of the profile for feed efficiency,” he said. “There is a lot of interest from breeders in Wyoming in what is happening here. The cost is also very reasonable. This data is only costing me $.70 a day over what my own feed costs are at home. That is very reasonable compared to what I will gain from this data,” he said.

The bulls were brought to the facility for the trial on Nov. 1 where they had a 20-day warm-up period to get adjusted to the feed ration. Researchers are utilizing the Grow Safe livestock feeding system, which allows Paisley to measure how much feed each bull consumes by recording its electronic eartag number and weighing the feed intake. “It’s a great tool for what we haven’t been able to measure for in the past,” Paisley said. The bulls are gaining an average of 3.5 lbs. per day, with ranges from 2-4 lbs.

The bulls were weighed Dec. 7 and the official part of the 70-day test has begun. “They seem to be comfortable and acclimated to their pens,” he said. During the test, Paisley will look at how feed efficiency ties into carcass data, and what would happen if bulls were selected strictly for feed efficiency. “I think we will find that feed efficiency will negatively impact performance,” he said.

Paisley is also interested in RFI, which is what the animal should gain compared to what it actually gains. “It becomes an index to look at the intangibles,” he said. “There are always things that don’t fit into the equation, so we try and measure for that, too,” he explained. “It can be temperament, or things on a biological or cellular level. If we over-select for biological efficiency, it could negatively affect feedlot efficiency,” he finished.

As consumers become more interested in lean and more consistent beef, producers are looking for ways to make that happen while still bringing in a profit. New research at the University of Wyoming (UW) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) in Lingle, WY is investigating just that by selecting bulls for feed efficiency.

“Selecting for feed efficiency is something we have never selected for in the past,” said Dr. Steve Paisley, UW Extension beef specialist, who is in charge of the feed efficiency trial. “Seedstock producers have selected bulls for performance. Feed efficiency and RFI (residual feed intake) is the next step,” he said.

Comparing cattle to cars, Paisley explained that in the past producers have selected a high performance car, but in the future, may need to consider something more efficient. “I don’t want producers to go to extremes and select a Ford Festiva. They need to use feed efficiency as an important selection tool in their programs,” he continued.

Paisley said feed efficiency can be a particularly valuable selection tool for bulls going to a range situation, or to a commercial cow-calf operation, where cattle tend to eat more roughage and are fed a lower energy diet.

The test is sanctioned by the Wyoming Hereford Association. According to Jay Middleswarth, a Hereford producer in Goshen County, the test is a way to help the group improve their herds and be on the cutting edge of some new technology. Middleswarth worked with Scott Keith of the Wyoming Business Council to get other Hereford breeders in the state interested in the test. Five pens of cattle with eight head each were brought to SAREC from six breeders. The breeders are from Torrington, Veteran, Wheatland, Lusk, Kaycee and Cheyenne.

“This test is a great opportunity for the Hereford Association,” Keith said. In December, Pfizer Animal Health collected DNA samples of the bulls, which is an additional opportunity for producers participating in the test.

Before the test began, the group worked with Keith and Paisley to put together a protocol for the test, and establish a marketing opportunity available afterward. Keith said at the end of the test the bulls will be offered for sale in an Internet auction. “It will be kind of a bull Ebay,” he said.

Middleswarth is excited about what the testing will mean for the Hereford Association. “There hasn’t been any testing done on Herefords for quite some time – since Midlands and Four Corners quit,” he explained. “I am really excited about being able to get something started at this facility. I wanted to be the first one with this kind of data available going into Denver,” he said.

Talking about the test, Middleswarth said the wilder bulls haven’t performed as well in the trial. “I think the best bulls are the ones who fit in the middle of the profile for feed efficiency,” he said. “There is a lot of interest from breeders in Wyoming in what is happening here. The cost is also very reasonable. This data is only costing me $.70 a day over what my own feed costs are at home. That is very reasonable compared to what I will gain from this data,” he said.

The bulls were brought to the facility for the trial on Nov. 1 where they had a 20-day warm-up period to get adjusted to the feed ration. Researchers are utilizing the Grow Safe livestock feeding system, which allows Paisley to measure how much feed each bull consumes by recording its electronic eartag number and weighing the feed intake. “It’s a great tool for what we haven’t been able to measure for in the past,” Paisley said. The bulls are gaining an average of 3.5 lbs. per day, with ranges from 2-4 lbs.

The bulls were weighed Dec. 7 and the official part of the 70-day test has begun. “They seem to be comfortable and acclimated to their pens,” he said. During the test, Paisley will look at how feed efficiency ties into carcass data, and what would happen if bulls were selected strictly for feed efficiency. “I think we will find that feed efficiency will negatively impact performance,” he said.

Paisley is also interested in RFI, which is what the animal should gain compared to what it actually gains. “It becomes an index to look at the intangibles,” he said. “There are always things that don’t fit into the equation, so we try and measure for that, too,” he explained. “It can be temperament, or things on a biological or cellular level. If we over-select for biological efficiency, it could negatively affect feedlot efficiency,” he finished.

Go back to article