Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research recommends starting cattle on corn, finishing on co-products

11.05.2010
The traditional practice of finishing cattle on corn may not be the only way to achieve high marbling, a desirable characteristic of quality beef.

Researchers at the University of Illinois have discovered that high-quality beef and big per-head profits can be achieved by starting early-weaned cattle on corn and finishing them on a diet high in co-products.

"The goal is to get the highest quality beef product in the most profitable way," said U of I animal scientist Dan Shike. "If you can initiate marbling at a young age with corn, calves are smaller and they eat much less, so feeding them corn for 100 days early saves on feed costs. This system will use considerably less corn and achieve the same effect."

For the study, heifers from the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center were weaned at an average age of 77 days and fed a high-corn ration for the next 146 days to initiate marbling. Then the cattle were divided into four groups: pasture-fed; high starch; intermediate starch; and low starch . The cattle remained on these treatments for 73 days. Then, all cattle were fed the intermediate-starch diet for the remainder of the finishing period.

Before being divided into the four treatment groups, the calves were ultrasounded to determine marbling.

The ultrasounds revealed that marbling was initiated with the early corn diet. The cattle were ultrasounded again at the completion of the 73-day treatment period.

"The cattle on pasture had significantly lower marbling," Shike said. "But there were no differences in the cattle fed varying levels of starch."

These results remained constant through harvest with pasture-fed cattle receiving lower marbling scores and fewer cattle grading low-choice. The cattle fed varying levels of starch had no difference in marbling scores.

However, there were differences in profit per head.

"If you look at the overall profitability, we actually lost a little money on the high-starch group, the pastured cattle barely made any money, but the intermediate- and the low-starch groups showed a big swing. There's about a $45 difference between the high-starch and intermediate-starch treatment groups, and low starch was comparable to intermediate."

Why were the intermediate- and low-starch groups more profitable? Cattle fed these diets achieved higher gains as efficiently or more efficiently as the high-starch group.

Another advantage to weaning calves earlier and starting them on feed means they can be harvested much earlier.

"Our system is really an accelerated finishing system. It's not uncommon for our cattle to reach market end point and be harvested at 12 to 13 months of age. Whereas, in a more traditional weaning system, they might be 15, 16, or even 17 months of age. So, we're really taking four or five months off of that," Shike said.

Shike commented that when corn prices are high, this system is more cost effective because it utilizes lower priced co-products such as distillers dried grain, corn gluten feed, and soy hulls without sacrificing marbling quality.

"Additional research is needed," Shike said. "But we believe feeding a high-grain ration to cattle at a young age and finishing them on co-products is the most profitable way to produce high-quality beef."

Effects of Source of Energy on Performance, Ultrasonic, Carcass, and Economic Characteristics of Early-Weaned Heifers was published in a 2008 issue of Professional Animal Scientist. P.S. Bedwell, D.B. Faulkner, D. F. Parrett, L.L. Berger, F.A. Ireland and T. G. Nash contributed to the research.

Debra Levey Larson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
13.02.2018 | Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology

nachricht Sweet route to greater yields
08.02.2018 | Rothamsted Research

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>