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 New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht New rice fights off drought
04.04.2017 | RIKEN

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>