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Relationship between feeding behavior and performance of feedlot steers fed barley-based diets

Schwartzkopf-Genswein, K.S., Hickman, D.D., Shah, M.A., Krehbiel, C.R., Genswein, B.M.A., Silasi, R., Gibb, D.G., Crews, D.H., McAllister, T.A. (2011). Relationship between feeding behavior and performance of feedlot steers fed barley-based diets, 89(4), 1180-1192. http://dx.doi.org/10.2527/jas.2010-3007

Abstract

The relationship between feeding behavior and performance of 274 feedlot cattle was evaluated using Charolais cross steers from 2 consecutive years averaging 293 ± 41 kg for yr 1 (n = 115) and 349 ± 41 for yr 2 (n = 159). Steers were blocked by BW and assigned to 3 (yr 1) or 4 (yr 2) feedlot pens equipped with a radio frequency identification system (GrowSafe Systems). Each pen contained 5 feeding stalls that allowed individual animal access to a feed tub suspended on load cells. The system recorded animal identification, duration, and frequency of feedings as well as the amount of feed consumed during each visit. Daily variation in DMI (DVI), calculated as the absolute difference in DMI from one day to the next, as well as eating rate were determined for each steer. Barley-based diets were delivered to meet steer ad libitum intake over the 213-and 181-d feeding periods for yr 1 and 2 of the study, respectively. The backgrounding periods included the first 85 and 56 d of yr 1 and 2, respectively, in which steers were fed a 14 to 30% concentrate diet, whereas the finishing periods included the last 116 and 101 d of feeding in yr 1 and 2, respectively, with the diet consisting of 77.9% concentrate. Steers were weighed individually every 14 d. To relate feeding behavior to performance, steers were grouped by ADG and G:F and categorized as high, average, or low (based on 1 SD greater than and less than the mean). In the backgrounding and finishing periods of both years of the study, steers classified as having high ADG exhibited greater (P < 0.001) DVI than steers classified as having average or low ADG. Total daily DMI was also greater (P < 0.001) for steers in the high ADG group than those in the low ADG group. Overall, those steers with the greatest G:F also tended (P = 0.15) to have greater DVI than average or low G:F steers. Compared with average or low G:F steers, DMI by high G:F steers in both years of the study was less during backgrounding, finishing, and overall (P = 0.02). Bunk visits and bunk attendance duration were less frequent and shorter (P ≤ 0.01) overall for high compared with low G:F steers. In this study, steers with more variable eating patterns exhibited greater ADG and tended to have greater G:F, a finding that is contrary to industry perception. © 2011 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.

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