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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Genetics and Animal Breeding » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #402206

Research Project: Genomes to Phenomes in Beef Cattle Research

Location: Genetics and Animal Breeding

Title: Heritability and variance component estimation for feed and water intake behaviors of feedlot cattle

item DRESSLER, ELIZABETH - Kansas State University
item SHAFFER, WILL - Kansas State University
item AHLBERG, CASHLEY - Kansas State University
item ALLWARDT, KRISTI - Oklahoma State University
item BROOCKS, ASHLEY - Oklahoma State University
item BRUNO, KELSEY - Oklahoma State University
item MCPHILLIPS, LEVI - Oklahoma State University
item KREHBIEL, CLINT - Oklahoma State University
item CALVO-LORENZO, MICHELLE - Oklahoma State University
item RICHARDS, CHRIS - Oklahoma State University
item PLACE, SARA - Colorado State University
item DESILVA, UDAYA - Oklahoma State University
item Kuehn, Larry
item WEABER, ROBERT - Kansas State University
item BORMANN, JENNIFER - Kansas State University
item ROLF, MEGAN - Kansas State University

Submitted to: Food Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2023
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Feed and water intake are aspects of cattle production that are important to understand because it impacts producer profitability and sustainability. While feed intake and, to a lesser degree, water intake have previously been studied, the associated feeding and drinking behaviors are relatively unknown and lack standardized phenotypes. Using individual animal feed and water intake records, five behaviors were evaluated for feed and water intake from crossbred feedlot steers. The behaviors evaluated were number of sessions (no./d), session size (kg), time per session (s), intake rate (g/s), and session interval (min). The impact of season (winter vs. summer) and bunk management (ad libitum vs. slick) on feeding and drinking behaviors was evaluated. Heritability and variance components were estimated for all feeding and drinking behaviors. Pairwise phenotypic correlations between behaviors were discussed. The relationship between intake and feeding or drinking behaviors was evaluated with genetic correlations. A genome-wide association study identified several significant single nucleotide polymorphisms for feeding and drinking behaviors. The results indicate that feeding and drinking behaviors are heritable and may be one additional route to evaluating feed and water intake.

Technical Abstract: Feed and water intake are two important aspects of cattle production that greatly impact the profitability, efficiency, and sustainability of producers. Feed and, to a lesser degree, water intake have been studied previously, however there is little research on their associated animal behaviors and there is a lack of standardized phenotypes for these behaviors. Feed and water intakes obtained with an Insentec system (Hokofarm Group, The Netherlands) from 830 crossbred steers were used to compute five intake behaviors for both feed and water: number of sessions (NS), intake rate (IR), session size (SS), time per session (TS), and session interval (SI). Variance components and heritabilities were estimated for each trait. Heritabilities for feed intake behaviors were 0.50 ± 0.12, 0.63 ± 0.12, 0.40 ± 0.13, 0.35 ± 0.12, and 0.60 ± 0.12 for NS, IR, SS, TS, and SI, respectively. Heritabilities for water intake behaviors were 0.56 ±0.11, 0.88 ± 0.07, 0.70 ± 0.11, 0.54 ± 0.12, and 0.80 ± 0.10 for NS, IR, SS, TS, and SI, respectively. Daily dry matter intake (DDMI) and daily water intake (DWI) had heritabilities of 0.57 ± 0.11 and 0.44 ± 0.11. Phenotypic correlations varied between pairs of traits (-0.83 to 0.82). Genetic correlations between DDMI and feed intake behaviors were moderate to high, while genetic correlations between DWI and water intake behaviors were low to moderate. Several significant SNPs were identified for the feed and water intake behaviors. Genes and previously reported quantitative trait loci near significant SNPs were evaluated. The results indicated that feed and water intake behaviors are influenced by genetic factors and are heritable therefore, may be one additional route to evaluating feed and water intake.