Net protein contribution of beef feedlots from 2006 to 2017. Academic Article uri icon


  • Feedlot efficiency increases as technologies are adopted and new feed ingredients, especially byproducts, become available and incorporated into diets. Byproduct availability increased in response to the renewable fuels standard of 2005, creating substantial amounts of feedstuffs best used by ruminants. Cereal grains have been partially replaced with human-inedible byproducts, as they provide comparable levels of energy in cattle diets. To evaluate the effects of changes in diet and feedlot production practices on net protein contribution (NPC) and human-edible protein conversion efficiency (HePCE) across time, a deterministic NPC model was used. NPC was assessed for the feedlot industry using lot level production data from 2006 to 2017 for eight commercial feedlots. Ingredient and nutrient composition was collected for a representative starter and finisher diet fed for each year from each feedlot. NPC was calculated by multiplying human-edible protein (HeP) in beef produced per unit of HeP in feed by the protein quality ratio (PQR). Systems with NPC >1 positively contribute to meeting human protein requirements; NPC < 1 indicates competition with humans for HeP. NPC was regressed on year to evaluate temporal change in NPC. Feedlots were categorized as increasing NPC (INC; slope > 0) or constant NPC (CON; slope = 0) according to regression parameter estimates. Four feedlots were categorized as INC and four were CON. The rate of change in PQR was similar for CON and INC (P 0.79), although rates of change among INC and CON differed for byproduct and cereal grain inclusion (P 0.01) across years evaluated. Feedlots categorized as INC reduced HeP consumed by 2.39% per year, but CON feedlots did not reduce HeP consumed each year (0.28%). Cattle received and shipped by INC were lighter than those in CON feedlots (P < 0.01). Across years, INC produced more HeP (20.9 vs. 19.2 kg/hd) than CON (P < 0.01), and both feedlot types tended to improve HeP gained over time (0.1 kg per year; P = 0.10). Differences in slope over time for INC and CON were observed for conversion efficiency of HeP (P < 0.01). NPC increased 0.027 units per year for INC (P < 0.01) and was 0.94 in 2017. NPC by the feedlot sector improved from 2006 to 2017, decreasing the amount of human-edible feeds required to produce more high-quality protein from beef.

published proceedings

  • Transl Anim Sci

altmetric score

  • 17.8

author list (cited authors)

  • Baber, J. R., Sawyer, J. E., Holland, B. P., Karr, K. J., Word, A. B., & Wickersham, T. A.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Baber, Jessica R||Sawyer, Jason E||Holland, Ben P||Karr, Kendall J||Word, Alyssa B||Wickersham, Tryon A

publication date

  • July 2019