Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/2/2008
Publication Date: 5/2/2008
Citation: Ferrell, C.L., Jenkins, T.G. 2008. Nutritional requirements and their relationship to relevant bio-economic traits of the cow herd. In: Proceedings of the VI Simposio de Producao de Gado de Corte (VI Symposium of Beef Cattle Production), May 24-26, 2008, Vicosa, Brazil.
Technical Abstract: Historically, much of our research effort has focused on general and broadly applicable processes, and little effort has been focused on the amount or causes of individual variation in efficiency of energy utilization or production by cattle, even though differences among individuals have long been recognized. As a result, observed maintenance requirements and energetic efficiencies, for example, have not been altered substantially during the last 100 years of intensive beef production. There are numerous reasons for the lack of change including a lack of consistent selection goals, loose and inconsistent definitions of efficiency, concentration on output characteristics, and emphasis on population or breed averages, rather than individual variation. It is time to assess new or different tools and concepts to enhance efficiency of beef production. Application of older (e.g., residual feed intake) and newer (e.g., QTL, gene expression micro-array) technologies now offer the potential to realize improved maintenance and system efficiency through identification of individual animal phenotype and genetic uniqueness, and application of that knowledge through marker-assisted management and/or marker-assisted selection.