Effects of temperament at feedlot arrival and breed type on growth efficiency, feeding behavior, and carcass value in finishing heifers.
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Objectives were to evaluate the effects of temperament at feedlot arrival and breed type on productivity, feed efficiency, feeding behavior, and carcass quality traits in finishing beef heifers, and to examine interactions between temperament and breed type. Heifers (Angus, Braford, Brangus, and Simbrah, N = 411, BW = 280 kg) were fed a high-grain diet (ME = 3.0 Mcal/kg DM) in pens equipped with electronic feed bunks. Quality grade (QG), yield grade (YG), and Warner-Bratzler shear (WBS) force values (day 1 and 14 postmortem) were evaluated. Relative exit velocity (REV) at feedlot arrival was used as a covariate in mixed models to assess the effects of temperament and interactions with breed type, with means compared at ±1 SD from the mean initial REV. Calm heifers (mean REV minus 1 SD) had 4% greater (P < 0.001) initial BW, 12% greater (P < 0.001) ADG, 8% greater (P < 0.001) DMI, and 4% greater (P < 0.02) G:F than heifers with excitable temperaments (mean REV plus 1 SD). A temperament × breed interaction was detected (P < 0.01) for residual feed intake (RFI). Braford heifers had a more (P < 0.05) negative REV covariate slope (-1.49 ± 0.65) than the other breeds, such that excitable Braford heifers had lower (P < 0.05) RFI than the other breeds with excitable temperaments. Temperament × breed interactions were observed (P < 0.001) for DMI per BW0.75 and bunk visit (BV) duration. Braford heifers had more (P < 0.05) negative REV covariate slopes for both traits than Angus, Brangus, and Simbrah heifers such that excitable Braford heifers consumed less (P < 0.05) DMI per BW0.75 and had less BV duration compared to excitable Angus and Brangus heifers. Calm heifers had 9% greater (P < 0.01) meal duration, and consumed meals that were 22% longer (P < 0.001) and 17% larger (P < 0.001) compared to excitable heifers. Calm heifers had 12% more (P < 0.001) BV events per meal then excitable heifers. Carcasses from calm heifers were 4% heavier (P < 0.05) and had 7% greater (P = 0.05) backfat (BF) depth and tended to have 4% greater (P = 0.07) USDA YG than carcasses from excitable heifers. Additionally, loin steaks from calm heifers had 8% lower (P < 0.05) WBS force than steaks from excitable heifers. Based on a carcass grid with discounts and premiums for HCW, QG, YG, and tenderness, calm heifers returned $62 more (P < 0.01) revenue per animal than excitable heifers. These results demonstrate that heifers with divergent phenotypes for temperament on feedlot arrival differ in their performance, feed efficiency, and feeding behavior patterns, as well as carcass quality and revenue.
author list (cited authors)
Olson, C. A., Carstens, G. E., Herring, A. D., Hale, D. S., Kayser, W. C., & Miller, R. K.