Graded levels of woodchip during wet feedlot conditions
Did you know that woodchip bedding can increase the value of grainfed carcases by 9.3 kg?
|Project start date:||01 April 2018|
|Project end date:||30 May 2019|
|Publication date:||11 October 2019|
|Project status:||In progress|
|Livestock species:||Grainfed cattle|
Download Report (3.3 MB)
This project simulated wet winter conditions to determine the production and management costs and benefits of providing woodchip bedding to feedlot cattle during wet weather conditions. Zero, 15 and 30cm of woodchip was compared over a 109-day feeding period in short-fed export steers.
Average daily gain, carcase weight and cattle comfort was optimised at 15cm of woodchip. The woodchips lowered the incidence of days and increased carcase value by 9.3kg per head.
This project researched the effects of woodchip bedding on feedlot cattle performance, animal health and welfare, dag score, pre-slaughter washing time, labour and carcase characteristics.
- Provision of woodchip bedding at 54 kg/m2 (15 cm deep) improved cattle comfort, average daily gain and increased hot standard carcase weight by an additional 9.3kg per animal ($74 increase in revenue).
- The integrity of woodchip was maintained under wet conditions until 70 days, indicating re-application may be warranted for cattle that are in feedlots for longer periods of time.
- The increase in carcase value may be offset by the cost of woodchips and labour. Lot feeders should utilise site-specific cost analysis to determine feasibility.
Benefits to industry
Woodchip improves comfort of feedlot cattle in wet winter conditions and is a positive, proactive management strategy. It can provide economic advantages to lot feeders if it is purchased at an appropriate price.
- MLA has extended information to producers by articles in the MLA Quarterly Feed e-newsletter.
- A factsheet has been prepared for delivery to National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme (NFAS) accredited feedlots by the Australian Lot Feeders Association (ALFA)-MLA Technical Services officer.
- A technical presentation was delivered to lot feeders at ALFA Smart Beef, 2019.
No further research on woodchip bedding is planned. Current research is focusing on the effects of shelter on feedlot cattle performance, health and welfare.
- Woodchip bedding for feedlot cattle - Factsheet
- Bedding material use in cattle feedlots, MLA final report, January 2013
- Feedlot bedding study, MLA final report, October 2015
MLA news articles
- Woodchip bedding benefits revealed – MLA Quarterly Feed Article – June 2019
|Primary researcher:||University of New England|