Interpretive Summary: Effects of diet on feed intake, weight change, and gas emissions in beef cows
By: Amanda L Holder, Megan A Gross, Alexandra N Moehlenpah, Carla L Goad, Megan Rolf, Ryon S Walker, James K Rogers, David L Lalman
The beef cow utilizes about 74% of total feed energy required to produce beef. Therefore, a more thorough understanding of feed intake, weight gain, and feed efficiency traits in the beef cow is fundamental to reducing cost and improving the environmental footprint of beef production. In this experiment, feed intake, weight gain, and greenhouse gas emissions were studied using a crossover design (two study periods) and two diets diverse in energy density and physical characteristics; hay or a hay/concentrate mixed diet. Feed intake of the hay diet was moderately, positively correlated to feed intake when cows consumed the mixed diet. However, there was no correlation in weight gain when cows consumed hay compared to weight gain when cows consumed the mixed diet. There was generally a strong correlation between feed intake and greenhouse gas emissions during the first feeding period. However, there was no correlation between greenhouse gas fluxes and feed intake when cows consumed hay after they had first received the mixed diet. Further research is necessary to determine if greenhouse gas flux data can be used as a reliable proxy for feed intake in beef cows.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.