Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition, Growth and Physiology » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319052

Title: Feed efficiency in beef cattle: how far have we come, how far can we go?

item Freetly, Harvey

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2015
Publication Date: 10/1/2015
Citation: Freetly, H.C. 2015. Feed efficiency in beef cattle: how far have we come, how far can we go?. Proceedings of the 4th International Simposium of Beef Cattle Production, October 22-24, 2015, Lavras, MG, Brazil. p. 107-123.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Historically the main objective when feeding cattle has been to maximize outputs. The nutrient requirements of cattle vary amongst individuals, and often we over-feed the majority of the animals to ensure that we meet the requirements of the animals with the greatest needs. The value of maximizing outputs decreases as input cost increases leading to a preference to optimize production. Feed represents approximately 70% of the input cost in beef production. With the increase in competition from other industries such as biofuels for animal feed stuffs, there has been an increased interest in feed efficiency. There have been a number of management approaches to improve feed efficiency. These approaches have included modifying feed to improve nutrient utilization, use of growth promoters, matching nutrients fed to the physiological age, and biological potential of the animal. More recently there has been an increased interest in genetic selection of animals for improved feed utilization.