Feed Lot

APR-MAY 2018

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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14 FEED•LOT April/May 2018 MANAGEMENT Simmental Association. Another ongoing trial involves the center's heifer calves. All of the heifers go through feed efficiency testing. Dr. Hall said, "We are keeping track of the lifetime performance of those heifers, as it relates to feed effi- ciency, as well as the reproduction efficiency of those heifers as productive cows – a combined study." The Nancy M. Cummins REEC has collected about five years feed efficiency data on these heifers. This will be an ongoing and long term study following these heifers through their lives as productive cows. Dr. Hall said, "Some of the work we have done on the reproduction side is showing a slight advantage to the inefficient heifers in terms of reproductive perfor- mance. At this point we can't say that the inefficient heifers are negatively affected in terms of reproduction. I don't think we can make that statement. We have seen some trends that the inefficient heifers are heifers that reach puberty a little earlier. They don't necessarily have a better or worse pregnancy rate. That's kind of an interesting aspect of the research. We are continuing this research, because at this point we don't have the answer one way or the other." The data collected to this point of the trial, while limited, suggests that the inefficient heifers reach pu- berty earlier, or cycle earlier than the efficient heifers. "If we think about that from a biological perspective, the efficient heifers are probably partitioning more of the nutrients toward growth, where the inefficient heifers have more of their nutrients available for re- production," said Dr. Hall. All of the heifers in the trials have been estrus synchronized and artificially inseminated. To date the trials have not shown a difference in conception rates, short or long term, but more testing will be required to determine if this is affected by synchronizing and AI-ing the animals. A relatively new facet of the trials involves fol- lowing these cows through their productive lives on different pasture environments. The recent acquisition Data collected from feed efficiency trials continues to play a large role in research aimed to improve the cattle industry. Discoveries, based on these trials, have made positive differences in all aspects of the industry: from the cow/calf operator to the feedlot. Dr. John Hall, superintendent of the Nancy M. Cum- mins Research Extension Education Center (REEC) said, "We've done a variety of feed efficiency related research using the GrowSafe™ system over the years." Dr. Hall explained that they have run feed efficiency trials on Wagu bulls and heifers for agri-beef companies in the past, and have been working with the American Simmental Association's carcass merit system for the past four years. The Nancy M. Cummins REEC uses Simmental bulls on their cows. They do feed intake studies on all of the steers, before they go to the feedlot, and then share that information with the American Simmental Asso- ciation. This information is then input into the large body of data used to generate EPD's for the American Feed efficiency data plays an important part in genetic research As cow/calf operators have come to trust and rely on other gene tically predictable traits, the abilit y to predict the fertilit y and longevit y of a mother cow will be ver y important to cow/calf producers. BY MICHAEL J. THOMAS

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