Influence of growing phase feed efficiency classification on finishing phase growth performance and carcass characteristics of beef steers fed different diet types

Russell, J.R.; Lundy, E.L.; Minton, N.O.; Sexten, W.J.; Kerley, M.S.; Hansen, S.L.

Journal of Animal Science 94(7): 2927-2936


ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3163
PMID: 27482679
DOI: 10.2527/jas.2015-0267
Accession: 058112266

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A 5-yr study was conducted using 985 crossbred steers (464 kg [SD 32]) fed in 6 separate, replicated groups to determine the influence of growing phase (GP) feed efficiency (FE) classification and diet type on finishing phase (FP) FE of steers. During the GP at the University of Missouri, steers were fed either a whole shell corn-based diet (G-Corn; 528 steers) or a roughage-based diet (G-Rough; 457 steers) using GrowSafe feed bunks to measure DMI for 69 to 89 d. At the end of the GP, steers were ranked by residual feed intake (RFI) within diet, shipped to Iowa State University, and blocked into FP pens (5 to 6 steers/pen) by GP diet and RFI rank (upper, middle, or lower one-third). Steers were transitioned to either FP cracked corn- or byproduct-based diets and fed until 1.27 cm backfat was reached. After completion of the sixth group, average GP G:F within GP diet was calculated for each FP pen (168 total pens) using GP initial BW as a covariate (G-Corn: 0.207 [SD 0.038]; G-Rough: 0.185 [SD 0.036]). Pens were classified as highly feed efficient (HFE; >0.5 SD from the G:F mean; 58 pens), mid feed efficient (MFE; ±0.5 SD from the G:F mean; 60 pens), or lowly feed efficient (LFE; <0.5 SD from the G:F mean; 50 pens). Data were analyzed using PROC MIXED of SAS. Experimental unit was FP pen and the model included the fixed effects of GP diet, FE classification, FP diet, and the interactions. Group (1 to 6) was included as a fixed effect. There were no 3-way interactions ( ≥ 0.2) for any measured traits. Finishing phase G:F was not affected by any interactions ( ≥ 0.5) but was greater ( ≤ 0.03) for HFE versus MFE and LFE and greater ( = 0.02) for MFE versus LFE. Growing phase diet × FE classification effects were detected ( ≤ 0.01) for FP final BW (FBW), ADG, and DMI. Among G-Rough steers, HFE and MFE had greater ( ≤ 0.04) FBW and ADG than LFE, but among G-Corn steers, LFE had heavier ( = 0.03) FBW than HFE whereas ADG was unaffected ( ≥ 0.2) by FE classification. Dry matter intake was unaffected ( ≥ 0.3) by FE classification among G-Rough steers, but among G-Corn steers, LFE had greater ( ≤ 0.003) DMI than MFE and HFE. Overall, differences in FP G:F between FE classifications were driven by different factors depending on diet; ADG differed among roughage-grown steers and DMI differed among corn-grown steers. Ultimately, steers classified as HFE during the GP still had superior FE during the FP.