Optimizing feed intake recording and feed efficiency estimation to increase the rate of genetic gain for feed efficiency in beef cattle

Manafiazar, G.; Basarab, J. A.; McKeown, L.; Stewart-Smith, J.; Baron, V.; MacNeil, M. D.; Plastow, G.

Canadian Journal of Animal Science 97(3): 456-465


ISSN/ISBN: 0008-3984
DOI: 10.1139/cjas-2016-0118
Accession: 066340843

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Data from a total of 4842 animals were used to test whether the regular dry matter intake (DMI) data collection and residual feed intake (RFI) estimation period could be decreased. Eighty-three shortened test periods were compared with the regular test period, and the results showed that the DMI data collection period could be decreased to 42 d without significantly compromising accuracy of feed efficiency testing. Competency of the selected shorter period (42 d with 30-42 d of valid feed intake days) to predict regular test period DMI (84 d with 60-84 d of valid feed intake days) was tested using a set of agreements criteria. The results showed that the selected shorter period can be used to accurately and precisely predict regular test DMI. The selected shorter test period combined with regular body weight measurements were used to estimate RFI adjusted for backfat (RFIfat). Assessment of agreement between estimated values for RFIfat showed that a shorter DMI test could be used to predict RFIfat with only 7% outside the range prediction. It is concluded that shortening the feed intake period to 42 d from 84 d could substantially increase power-of-the-test for experiments that target feed intake or efficiency and reduce per head cost with the current infrastructure.