The Global Momentum of Feed Efficiency in Wagyu Cattle
As a farmer, you’re faced with an increased demand for sustainably-produced protein counterbalanced with the need to be profitable. The solution to pay dividends to your bottom line by producing more beef with less feed is now possible with individual animal management. Vytelle has created the industry’s first integrated livestock technology platform to help you identify the right genetics.
Vytelle curates the world’s largest multibreed efficiency database incorporating 25 breeds. With increasing pressure on input costs and demands to report and verify production; there has been significant investment in technology. Insights provided from this technology – through capture and reporting – are related to sustainable and efficient production. There are seven Wagyu animals in the top 25% most feed efficient cattle in the entire database of nearly 284,000 animals. The database includes phenotypic feed efficiency data on over 1,600 Wagyu bulls, heifers, and steers from five different sites around the world. Of the 1,600 cattle, 274 Wagyu heifers and bulls have been included in Vytelle’s multi-breed efficiency database to calculate expected breeding values (EBVs).
Feed conversion ratios (FCR) of over 53,000 efficiency-tested cattle in Vytelle’s database shows that, on average, cattle consume 7.23 kg, on a dry matter basis, for every kilogram of gain. Selection for NFI in the breeding herd can significantly impact feed conversion and feed savings in the feedlot, especially for long-fed Wagyu programs. A 15% improvement in efficiency, which is highly probable when selecting for NFI, results in an average FCR of 6.15:1. When considering a feeding period of 450 days with feedlot entry and finishing weights of 300 kg and 725 kg, respectively; along with feed costs of R 4,138.20/tonne as fed (R 6897/tonne of dry matter given a ration with a 60% dry matter content), a 15% improvement in efficiency will result in feed savings of R 3,178.91/head. A 15% improvement in efficiency in the feedlot is significant, but further improvements are possible; 11% of the efficiency-tested cattle in the Vytelle database have FCRs below 5:1.
Selecting for feed efficiency – arguably the single most valuable trait in beef production – reduces the labour costs and methane emissions* while increasing sustainability. Animal intakes and body weights are recorded with our Feed Intake
Nodes and In-Pen Weighing Positions to help you maximize profits, select for low net feed intake (NFI) cattle, and breed confidently.
* Lamb, G.C. and Maddock, T. (2009), “Feed Efficiency in Cows”, Beef Cattle Short Course, North Florida Research and Education Center, FL.