Feeding finishing and nutrition
Nutrition is a critical factor influencing the productivity and profitability of a livestock enterprise.
The performance of an animal is determined by the interaction between genetics and environmental influences, including nutrition. Without good nutrition, genetic potential will not be realised.
The option to pasture finish depends on target market specifications and environmental factors influencing feed supply. Key considerations in pasture finishing systems revolve around:
- Feeding supplements
Lotfeeding and intensive finishing
Lotfeeding and intensive finishing are intensive forms of animal production where groups of animals are placed in yards or enclosures of a minimum size consistent with animal health and comfort and fed high quality feed rations to achieve optimal rates of liveweight gain.
Important considerations in lotfeeding and finishing systems are:
- Preparing feeder livestock
- Animal health
- Pen maintenance
Supplementary feeding is used in grazing systems to help meet production requirements. This may be a regular part of the production cycle to help match feed demand to feed supply or reserved for times of drought. The extent of supplementary feeding used depends on the business objectives and often environmental conditions.
Important considerations in supplementary feeding include:
- Animal health
- Feed budgeting
- Production objectives
Periods of drought require producers to make important decisions that will have short-term and long-term impacts on a farming enterprise. Producers should know what livestock they can afford to feed through to the break.
Consideration should be given to:
- Confinement feeding
Animal health and welfare is a key priority during times of drought.
Eating quality is a key aspect influencing red meat consumption. It is important that red meat is delivered to the consumer in a fashion that promotes good, consistent eating quality and encourages consumers to want more.
The feeding and finishing of livestock, together with other aspects of animal management such as genetics, animal health and handling, are critical links in the eating quality chain. Producers, lot feeders and intensive finishers should be mindful of how feeding and finishing influence eating quality and implement systems that maximise eating quality potential.