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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Livestock Nutrient Management Research » Research » Research Project #430646

Research Project: Improving the Nutrient Use Efficiency and Decreasing the Potential Environmental Impact of Beef Finishing on the Southern High Plains

Location: Livestock Nutrient Management Research

Project Number: 3090-31630-005-39-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 1, 2016
End Date: Apr 30, 2021

Objective:
Determine rations of beef cattle in feedyards on the Southern High Plains that maximize nutrient retention and decrease nutrient losses in feces, urine and emissions.

Approach:
Commercial steers typical of Southern High Plains (crossbred, 200 to 300 kilograms) will be obtained and allow to acclaim to the facility. After which, animals will be segregated and randomly assigned to pens. Animal care and use protocols will be similar to that of commercial feedyards in the region. At the beginning of a feeding period, at the end and periodically in between animals will be weighed. A series of experiments will be conducted to determine the effect of roughage on cattle performance. The variables will include roughage source, inclusion rate, and grind size. Different grind sizes will obtained by particle separation procedures. During the feeding period, chewing behavior will be determined. When steers obtain sufficient weight for harvesting, animals will be sent to a commercial slaughter facility at which carcass quality parameters and liver abscesses. Individual animal data will be averaged across pens and the data per pen will be analyzed by standard analysis of variance procedure.