Feed Efficiency – Your Profits Depend On It!

Research conducted by Cornell University over a three year period found that “a 10% increase in daily gain resulted in a 7% increase in Dry Matter Intake and improved profits by 18% due to lower non feed costs and decreased feed used for maintenance. However, when feed intake remained constant and efficiency was improved by 10%, the resulting profits were improved by 43%. In short, for feedlot profitability, feed efficiency is 6 times more important than daily gain.” The implications are that feedlots will actively source efficient cattle and can afford to pay more for a proven product.
The same factors of profit, feed and efficiency face cow/calf operators, but it is much more difficult to obtain integrity in the data. Consider… Research from the Maynard cattle Company in Australia shows using high efficiency bulls on a 120 day test resulted in feed savings of 6% on their yearling cattle. In the high feed efficient mature cow herd, there was a feed saving of 5.5% with no adverse effect on weight of calf weaned per cow exposed. These gains were made in just the first generation of selection for feed efficiency.
With increased demand worldwide for grains, due to bio-fuel plants expanding at a rapid pace, feedlots will have increased competition for available feed grain – meaning a new wave of focus is being directed towards feed efficiency in cattle.
What are we doing about it? Our bulls have regularly been tested at the Vasse Feed Efficiency Trials and have performed exceedingly well, winning a number, including the last completed trial. Sire selections are made on these results and Genestar testing for feed efficiency is a priority for our future direction.