Feed Efficiency Research and Outreach for the Beef Industry
For the U.S. beef industry to remain competitive in the global economy, a robust and reliable efficiency measure must become a central element of breeding programs. This highly integrated outreach and applied research project will develop a new measure of feed efficiency, termed residual feed intake (RFI) by addressing the following objectives: 1. Evaluate and quantify the relationships between RFI and product quality. 2. Evaluate and quantify the relationships between RFI and finishing phase feed efficiency. 3. Determine the relationship between plasma insulin-like growth factor-1(IGF-1) at weaning and RFI. 4. Determine the relationship between maintenance energy and RFI. 5. Establish baseline and follow-up measures of producer perceptions about the perceived unique benefits and/or costs associated with RFI. 6. Develop
outreach materials using research results for delivery to the industry via multiple approaches including partnerships with industry. 7. Disseminate information to producers via the internet through the recently-created Beef Cattle Community of Practice with eXtension. The impact and outcomes of this project will benefit profitability and sustainability of the United States beef industry. Implementation of RFI has a potentially large economic gain that can be realized by industry within only a few years. Literature reports indicate that long-term improvement in profitability may be in a range between 9 and 33%. Furthermore, project outreach objectives will reinforce the great importance of RFI to producers, to add further awareness and adoption in the industry.