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Reducing the costs of beef production through the genetic improvement of net feed conversion efficiency

Project start date: 01 January 2002
Project end date: 01 November 2005
Publication date: 01 November 2005
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Summary

A comprehensive investigation of the consequences of selection for growth rate in beef cattle has been conducted at the Trangie Agricultural Research Centre, with MRC support (DAN.8a, DAN.8b). This study demonstrated that selection for increased growth rate improved overall herd profitability due to the cumulative effect of positive responses in turnoff weight, reproductive performance and small improvements in Net Feed Conversion Efficiency (FCE).

Project Aims By June 2001, to investigate and demonstrate the economic benefits of reducing the costs of beef production through the genetic improvement of net feed conversion efficiency (Net FCE). Specifically:

1. To demonstrate realised genetic responses and determine genetic and phenotypic parameters for postweaning Net FCE (within 5 years).

2. To provide the first progeny test evaluations for Net FCE among contemporary industry sires (during years 2 to 5).

3. To demonstrate correlated responses and determine genetic and phenotypic relationships between postweaning Net FCE and calf growth; body composition; cow reproductive and maternal performance; mature cow feed costs; steer feedlot performance, carcase yield and meat quality (within 8 years).

4. To provide recommendations on the benefits of central progeny testing for Net FCE in the Australian beef seedstock industry (within 8 years).

5. To provide a pilot facility for commercialised central testing of industry cattle for Net FCE (beyond year 4 of the project).

More information

Project manager: David Beatty
Primary researcher: New South Wales Department of Agriculture